Löw warns of Turkish ‘aggressive’ recruitment

Germany coach Joachim Löw warned Friday against the "aggressive" approach of the Turkish football federation in its efforts to recruit German-born and trained Turks to its national team.

Löw warns of Turkish 'aggressive' recruitment
Photo: DPA

An estimated 3.5 million people of Turkish origin have made Germany their home, and as a result some have gone on to play for the national team.

Most recently, Real Madrid midfielder Mesut Özil – who is of Turkish origin but was born in Germany – opted to play for the German national side.

Now Löw admits the Turks are fighting back, but he said the German federation will be honest with players about their chances of making the national side.

“We know that the Turkish federation has an aggressive policy aimed at young players (of Turkish origin) who have been trained in Germany,” Löw told German daily Bild Friday.

“We’re not going to put significant pressure on these players, but we will have an open and sincere dialogue with them and we won’t fill their heads with promises.”

The Turkish federation has its own offices in Germany, with a dedicated scout, former Bundesliga player Erdal Keser, who was recently instrumental in persuading Mehmet Ekici, a Germany under-21 player who is currently on loan at Nuremberg from Bayern Munich, to pledge his future to Turkey.

The same efforts are being made to persuade Omer Toprak, who helped Germany’s under-19 side to the European title, to jump ship and play for Turkey.

Löw would not say whether either player had a chance of playing for Germany’s senior side, but said: “I’m going to sit down and talk with this player (Toprak) and show him the kind of prospects he has with us.”

The general feeling in Germany is that Turkey is still riled by Özil’s decision to play for Germany. The brothers Hamit and Halil Altintop, as well as Nuri Sahin – all of whom were born in the same Ruhr region as Özil – opted to play for the country of their parents.

It has become a burning issue at the German football federation (DFB) – in the younger national teams the number of players with non-German origins are is the rise. In Germany’s under-18 squad 10 of the 22 players are from immigrant families, and four of the 10 are of Turkish origin.

FIFA rules currently allow players a degree of liberty when representing countries below senior level. Once at senior level, the choice is however definitive.

Former World Cup winners Germany finished third at the 2010 event in South Africa last summer. Turkey have qualified for the World Cup only three times, reaching the semi-finals in 2002 and, after defeat to Brazil, beating South Korea in the match for third place.


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Reader question: How do you meet the requirements for a sambo visa?

In Sweden, a sambo is domestic partner – someone you’re in a relationship with and live with, but to whom you aren’t married. If you, as a non-EU citizen, are in a sambo relationship with a Swedish citizen, you can apply for a residence permit on the basis of that relationship. But meeting the requirements of that permit is not always straightforward.

Reader question: How do you meet the requirements for a sambo visa?

An American reader, whose son lives with his Swedish partner, wrote to The Local with questions about the maintenance requirement her son and his partner must meet in order to qualify for a sambo resident permit.

“Their specific issue is that they meet the requirements for a stable relationship and stable housing, but have been told that qualifying for a sambo visa based on savings is unlikely,” she wrote, asking for suggestions on how to approach this issue. Her son’s partner is a student with no income, but whose savings meet maintenance requirements. But, they have been told by lawyers that Migrationsverket will likely deny the application based on the absence of the Swedish partner’s income.

How do relationships qualify for sambo status?

In order to apply for a residence permit on the basis of a sambo relationship, you and your partner must either be living together, or plan to live together as soon as the non-Swedish partner can come to Sweden. Because this reader’s son is already in Sweden as a graduate student, he can apply for a sambo permit without having to leave the country, provided that his student permit is still valid at the time the new application is submitted.

The Migration Agency notes that “you can not receive a residence permit for the reason that you want to live with a family member in Sweden before your current permit expires”. So once your valid permit is close to expiration, you can apply for a new sambo permit.

What are the maintenance requirements for a sambo permit?

The maintenance requirements for someone applying for a sambo permit fall on the Swedish partner, who must prove that they are able to support both themselves and their partner for the duration of the permit. This includes both housing and financial requirements.

In terms of residential standards that applicants must meet, they must show that they live in a home of adequate size – for two adult applicants without children, that means at least one room with a kitchen. If rented, the lease must be for at least one year.

The financial requirements are more complicated. The Swedish partner must be able to document a stable income that can support the applicant and themselves – for a sambo couple, the 2022 standard is an income of 8,520 kronor per month. This burden falls on the Swedish partner.

While the Migration Agency’s website does say that you may “fulfil the maintenance requirement (be considered able to support yourself) if you have enough money/taxable assets to support yourself, other persons in your household and the family members who are applying for a residence permit for at least two years”, it is unclear how proof of this would be documented. On a separate page detailing the various documents that can be used to prove that maintenance requirements are met, there is nothing about how to document savings that will be used to support the couple.

Can you apply on the basis of savings instead of income?

Well, this is unclear. The Migration Agency’s website does suggest that having enough money saved up to support both members of the sambo relationship is an option, but it gives no details on how to document this. It is also unclear whether applying on the basis of savings will disadvantage applicants, with preference given to applicants who can show proof of income from work.

The Local has reached out to an immigration lawyer to answer this question.