CSU head questions Turkey’s EU entry after Erdogan’s speech

Turkey’s suitability for membership in the EU has been seriously questioned by Erwin Huber, chairman of the CSU, the Christian Social Union of Bavaria, following Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s warning against assimilation and loss of Turkish identity. The CSU operates only in Bavaria and is in alliance with the CDU. Generally, the CSU is the more socially conservative of the two.

“Erdogan preached Turkish nationalism on German soil. That is anti-European and substantiates our misgivings concerning Turkey’s entry into the EU,” Huber told the Münchner Merkur. “One must now think about and examine whether under these circumstances and with this conduct, negotiations regarding Turkey’s entry are even sensible.”

“This speech was very unpleasant,” Günther Beckstein (CSU), Bavaria’s premier, told the Nürnberger Zeitung. He explained that Erdogan put the Turkish language and culture clearly above those of Germany and said that if he would make such statements about German culture in a Turkish community, it would be “from a German point of view most problematic.”

“To dismiss assimilation is not contrary to integration,” Ali Kizilkaya, head of the German Muslim group Islamrat told Tagesspiegel. He also said, “A lot of Turks finally got the feeling a government leader was listening to them. That’s something Merkel could do too.”

Kizilkaya echoes other Muslim leaders in Germany who say that neither German politicians nor their parties are making sufficient effort to listen to and court the support of Turkish-German constituencies.

Erdogan’s demand that Turks in Germany learn German “is a lot more important than having a debate about assimilation,” Ekin Deligöz, a Green Party politician of Turkish origin told Berliner Zeitung. She explained that such statements are very helpful to integration.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) has suggested that Turkey become a privileged partner of the EU rather than a member. Erdogan said he would reject such a scenario, emphasizing that full membership is his goal.