Hatice Akyün was born on June 15, 1969 in Akpınar Köyü near Kütahya in a small Anatolian village about 100 kilometres southeast of Ankara.
In 1972 she moved with her family to Duisburg, where her father, who was actually a farmer, took a job as a miner. Hatice Akgün learned German with the help of Grimm's Fairy Tales and says of herself that her "heart is German and her soul is Turkish".
After completing secondary school, Hatice Akyün initially trained as a judicial clerk at the district court in Duisburg. Only then did she get her Abitur. After a year as an au pair in New York, she began studying business administration at the Heinrich Heine University in Düsseldorf. At the same time, she worked as a freelance journalist for the local editorial office of the Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung. After completing a traineeship, she moved to Berlin in 2000 and worked as a society reporter for Max magazine.
Integration from multiple perspectives
In recent years, especially since the debate sparked by Thilo Sarrazin, Hatice Akyün has also increasingly spoken out about integration. Most recently, she even reported that she was thinking of emigrating to Turkey: "I don't want my daughter to come home from school at some point and say: Mom, they say I'm stupid because I'm Turkish. I don't want her to feel like she doesn't belong in this country."
In 2009, Hatice Akyün was awarded the Duisburg Prize for Tolerance and Civil Courage. The jury, made up of representatives from various areas of public life, recognized the author's commitment to tolerance and the importance of language in integration. The jury's reasoning went on to say:
“The author, who grew up in Duisburg, writes with temperament and humour about her life in different cultures and about the enrichment that this can bring. Her stories call for a tolerant coexistence and deal with the topic of integration from several perspectives. It is always clear how important the author attaches to language as an important key to living together. Almost casually, the topic of tolerance and its importance for peaceful coexistence is brought into the public eye.”
On May 12, 2009, Hatice Akyün's blog "Neulich in der Parallelwelt" on westropolis.de was nominated by the Grimme Institute for the Grimme Online Award 2009 from 1,700 suggestions submitted. The nomination committee justified this with the words:
“'Hatice Akyün, Turkish, German, Muslim, journalist. Not forced into marriage and doesn't wear a headscarf either.' This is the nonchalant introduction to the culture-critical blog entitled 'The other day in the parallel world'. Here writes one who does not use clichés, but exposes them with irony. With her biography, Hatice Akyün is representative of many German-Turks who confidently migrate between two cultures. Clever, humorous and easy-going, the journalist describes small everyday scenes that come together like a kaleidoscope to create a dazzling picture. The blog shows how enriching cultural diversity can be for a society.”
In 2011, Hatice Akyün was on the jury of the young film award “First Steps” in the “Documentation” category, which is awarded annually by the German Film Society. At the award ceremony on July 23, 2011, she held the laudatory speech for the winner.
On December 9, 2011, Hatice Akyün received the Berlin Integration Prize together with the scientist Naika Foroutan. The jury awarded the prize for "her outstanding contributions to the current debate on immigration and integration and her commitment to democratic coexistence." The integration prize is awarded annually by the Berlin state advisory board for integration and migration issues. In 2011, Berliners were sought who, according to the text of the advertisement, "have rendered outstanding service to the public through contributions and initiatives to objectify the debate on immigration and thus counteract the stigmatization of immigrant groups." In autumn 2013 she received the special prize for tolerance and integration from the “Initiative Capital Berlin”.
Hatice Akyün has been working as a freelance author since 2003 and has written or writes for Der Spiegel, Emma and the Berliner Tagesspiegel, among others.
She wrote the cover story "Allah's Lawless Daughters" and the reports "A City Like a Promise" about young Turkish women academics in Istanbul and "Der Denkzettel" about the Solingen arson attack for the Spiegel.
In 2005 she published the biographical novel "Einmal Hans mit Scharfer Sose", which she also read for an audio book of the same name. In 2008 the sequel "Ali zum Dessert" was published, in which she writes about her German-Turkish life as a mother. In 2013 she continued her autobiographical book series with her third book entitled "I kiss you, Kismet", in which she reports on her attempt to emigrate to Turkey after the integration debate about Thilo Sarrazin, which was perceived as xenophobic, cast doubt on her her and her daughter's future in Germany.
Hatice Akyün can no longer imagine moving to Türkiye today
Since March 2011, Hatice Akyün has been writing a weekly column in the Tagesspiegel called “Meine Heimat”, which appears every Friday. In it she reports on life in a big city from the perspective of an immigrant. She deals with the everyday life of her fellow human beings with and without a migration background in the metropolis of Berlin. The column also covers the topic of integration in the broadest sense. Akyün writes with irony and humour about her life in German and Turkish culture, which is not very different in her stories. For example, she writes B. about mothers whose problems are similar, even if the mothers come from different regions of the world. Integration is something that doesn't just happen on paper, but also on the playground next door. The columns are often about life, love, mishaps and embarrassments, greatness and faintheartedness, hope and disappointment and staying true to yourself. It all revolves around the wisdom of her Turkish father, who always says the right sentence on the topic at the end of her columns.
In the so-called integration debate, especially in the debate about the theses of Thilo Sarrazin, Heinz Buschkowsky, Ralph Giordano or Necla Kelek, which are widely discussed in Germany, Hatice Akyün repeatedly publicly emphasized their often-claimed responsibility for the racism and right-wing radicalism that are recognizable in Germany, such as those of the terrorist group NSU: “These right-wing extremists who carry out the violence feel like they are vicarious agents of the majority. The NSU also said so: 'Actions instead of words!'. And a Mr. Sarrazin or a Mr. Buschkowsky, also a Ms. Kelek or even Mr. Giordano, who always underpin this, give these right-wing radicals, who are ready to use violence, always new fodder to say: 'Look, we're right!' "
The German-Turkish author and journalist Hatice Akyün cannot imagine moving to Turkey again. 'No, absolutely not. I can imagine it personally, but not for political reasons, »said the 44-year-old to the dpa news agency. In 2012, Akyün, who grew up in the Ruhr area, lived in Istanbul for six months. She found that she had a completely different understanding of democracy and the rule of law. "I no longer feel I belong there," explained Akyün.
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