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'Learn the language,' Turkish minister tells countrymen in Germany

Published: 12 Oct 2010 08:40 GMT+02:00

“Learn German! Adjust to the customs and conventions of your host country,” the politician suggested in an interview with daily Bild. “Send your children to the best schools so they will have a future!”

Bagis also encouraged his fellow Turks, who make up Germany’s largest group of immigrants, numbering an estimated 3.5 million, to obey German laws.

Because if “Ali or Achmed does something bad, people won’t go looking for names,” he said. Instead they will say: “It was the Turk!”

The Turkish government stands behind integration in Germany just as it does for the integration of Turkey itself into the European Union, Bagis told Bild.

“You must not give up the gift of your identity and your culture, but instead see yourselves as an ambassador of Turkey,” he added.

Bagis’ remarks came after the Turkish Community in Germany (TGD) had demanded an apology on Monday from conservative Bavarian premier Horst Seehofer for suggesting the country stop allowing Turks and Arabs to immigrate.

Over the weekend Seehofer had said the two groups had too much trouble integrating into German culture.

DPA/ka

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

13:54 October 12, 2010 by NYsteve
I agree....just as immigrants who came to the US at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries......they came to America....retained their own heritage, customs and language but also learned English and how to function in a different society. This idea should also apply to those immigrating to Germany....keep your heritage, etc but learn German, learn German history, German culture, etc....this is your new home...be proud of it!
15:17 October 12, 2010 by munichiscool
just wait friends ......... Garbage is going to start :) I am missing "mehta_p" very much.......... hello hello :)
17:03 October 12, 2010 by ww77ww
USA became strong via the integration of immigrants. They retained cultural pride but were able to adapt to a new world. This is what works, multiculti will not be the same. Kudos to Bagis for being a sane voice of reason.
02:44 October 13, 2010 by Prufrock2010
With all due respect, the analogy between the US and Germany vis-a-vis immigration is specious. America was a land whose indigenous populations were eradicated by the European immigrants. Those that were not eradicated were eventually conquered and marginalized into oblivion. Germany is a distinctly different story, comprised of many diverse cultures that go back to the time of the Roman colonization. Germany's advanced culture since the time of the Reformation was neither built nor strengthened by immigration. After World War II, Germany adopted extremely liberal immigration policies to accommodate much-needed "guest workers" from Turkey to rebuild the infrastructure destroyed in the war. The German culture was not supplanted by the immigrants, as was the case with the indigenous people of America.

With that in mind, I agree that those who emigrate to Germany should do everything in their power to adapt to the laws, customs and mores of their adopted home, while still retaining their cultural pride. That is the essence of assimilation. It is not a license to do what the European immigrants did in America; namely to eradicate the existing cultures and replace them with their own.
09:09 October 13, 2010 by wood artist
Pruf, you're spot on. Immigrants to the United States were expected to help "create" a country, unfortunately at the expense of the native population. They did integrate amongst themselves, but still held strong racists views, both with regard to native Americans and Negros. Only now are those being broken down.

As you observed, the German situation, especially with regard to the Turkish community, is different. Hopefully there is a middle ground, where Germans can become more accepting while immigrants "work harder" on becoming fuller members of German society. There is a lot of good in this conversation if both sides can get past the name-calling and stereotyping.

wa
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