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Erdogan slams 'xenophobia' and urges Turks to integrate

The Local · 28 Feb 2011, 08:34

Published: 28 Feb 2011 08:34 GMT+01:00

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"We are following xenophobia in some European countries, primarily Germany, with great concern... We urge politicians and especially the media... not to fan it," he told a crowd of Turkish immigrants in the west German city of Düsseldorf, in a speech aired on Turkish television.

"Islamophobia is a crime against humanity as much as anti-Semitism is," the Islamic conservative Erdogan said.

Germany is home to 2.5 million Turks, many of which are frequently criticized failing to properly integrate despite having settled in the country decades ago.

A German central banker sparked a controversy last year when he said that poorly educated and unproductive Muslim immigrants made Germany "more stupid."

"I want everybody to learn German and get the best education... I want Turks to be present at all levels in Germany - in the administration, in politics, in civil society," Erdogan told the crowd.

"Yes to integration... But no to assimilation... No one can tear us from our culture," he said.

Erdogan's remarks were similar to controversial comments he made in nearby Cologne in 2008 that assimilation, which he defined as a person being "forced" to abandon their culture, was a "crime against humanity."

Erdogan said Turkey would issue special documents - "blue cards" - for Turks who abandon their Turkish citizenship in favour of German nationality, a procedure required under German law.

"We will recognise the blue card as an identity document and make it easier for you to make transactions at government offices and banks" in Turkey, he said.

On Monday, Erdogan was to meet with Chancellor Angela Merkel in Hannover, where the two will jointly inaugurate a technology fair.

Germany, together with France, opposes Turkey's bid to join the European Union and advocates a special partnership for the sizeable mainly Muslim nation, an idea Ankara flatly rejects.

Speaking in Istanbul before his departure to Germany, Erdogan reiterated frustration over the sluggish pace of his country's accession talks, which face the risk of grinding to a halt.

"If they do not want Turkey in, they should say this openly... and then we will mind our own business and will not bother them," Erdogan said.

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"But there is a lot we can give the EU and the EU has a lot to give Turkey... We want to work on in solidarity," he added.

Erdogan said he would shorten his programme in Germany to return to Istanbul Tuesday for the funeral of Necmettin Erbakan, his mentor and a former prime minister, who died of a heart failure earlier Sunday, aged 84.

He would then travel to Brussels for talks with European Commission head Jose Manuel Barroso.

AFP/The Local/mry

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

09:58 February 28, 2011 by twisted
Sorry Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, you can't have it both ways. Full integration means assimilation. And you need to speak to your own people and tell them to quit harassing non-Muslims.
10:14 February 28, 2011 by catjones
I can't tell you how many Germans I know in the US who continue with their traditions...festivals, foods, language. We see value in what they bring to the country, not to be discarded simply because it isn't American...whatever that is.
10:28 February 28, 2011 by Joeske
Catjones has a point. However, it also illustrates what can happen to the native culture. In America that has essentially vanished completely.
10:36 February 28, 2011 by marimay
I do not understand how one can integrate when one is not truly welcome to integrate.

That is my observation and my understanding from stories I have heard.

Whatever, this country is weird sometimes.
10:44 February 28, 2011 by Surferjoe
Oil and water don't mix no matter how adroitly stirred by a government and business community that still lusts for cheap labor.
10:51 February 28, 2011 by HMPingu
@Joeske: native american culture did not dissapear (very nearly anyway) because the pesky white man refused to integrate, learn the language etc.... it dissapeared because the natives were very nearly wiped out, in one of the worse genocides on record. Last I heard no one is threatening germans, or german culture for that matter, of anything similar.
12:04 February 28, 2011 by michael4096
I feel sorry for anybody outside the country reading this forum - they must get a strange idea of life in Germany. Every country that I know has tension between people from different backgrounds - it seems a pretty common sort of idea - and Germany is no exception. However, phrases like 'xenophobia', 'oil and water' and 'not truely welcome' are so detached from life on the ground, its difficult to know how to respond.

My workplace is pretty typical of a mid-sized, high-tech company here in Germany. People from non-German backgrounds range from about 10% of the workforce in the business areas to, perhaps, 40% in the day-to-day technical areas. In over 10 yrs, I have never experienced even racial tension let alone direct hostility. Racists exist everywhere and here is no exception, but they exist equally on both sides and they don't let it interfere with work.

It's similar outside work. Friends and acquaintances all tell the same story. Walking through the local shopping malls - same story. Violence? The reason there have been some stories in the news recently is because it is really news in Germany - it is extremely rare.
12:44 February 28, 2011 by LiberalGuy
@ michael4096

On a further note is amazing how many people on here post comments that don't reference Germany at all. Many, many comments refernce sayings like "here in the US", or some variation on that. I have chosen to live here and believe that any problems (like you I agree the reality on the ground is alot different to what people preach here) are Germany's problems and should solved by all of us. It strikes me as odd how many soldiers (mainly US) or other people only here for a short time feel the need to tell Germany about it's problems and how crap it is. I for one am sick and tired of SurferJoe or DerExDeutcher telling us about the perils of Islam. Here's an idea people. Come up with solutions to your 'percieved' problems, or better yet if you have no stake in the future of Germany, then how bout you shut up. Germany is a wounderful place full of amazing people, but you would never know from reading some of the comments posted on here
13:01 February 28, 2011 by Surferjoe
You may be sick and tired of hearing about Islam LiberalGuy, as indeed we all are, but Islam is just as tired of you. Unless of course you are in favor of Sharia law around here in which case you might be allowed to stick around once Islam has triumphed in europe. Need references? Read the Koran which is to be taken literally as the word of God by every muslim. The truth is there are lots of problems here in Germany but your "liberal" blinders keep you from seeing and/or admitting them. Personally, I'm annoyed by folks like yourself who insist that its all good and that everything will work out fine if the folks that see the problems will just get out of the way.
13:04 February 28, 2011 by mehta_p
Seems, Turks and/or many muslims here don't WANT to understand: "When in Germany, Do as the Germans Do"

If they could, Erdogan had not to urg Turks to integrate.


If turks really wanted to get integrated here, they had already before.
13:08 February 28, 2011 by sunsolar
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
13:17 February 28, 2011 by LiberalGuy
@Surfer Joe

Then what is your soultion???? See you preach fear but offer no soultion.

And if you are talking about Sharia law as practiced in Turkey?? See the only aspect of Sharia law in Turkey is restrictions on Alcohol.

And another thing it's Qur'an not Koran.

Europe has survived for thousands of years through wars, invasions, and will continue to do so for thousands of years more.

Now if you can give me evidence of an 'Islamic' invasion then i would love to see it.
14:03 February 28, 2011 by drdavey
This is not about 'Xenophobia', it's not about 'race'. The heart of the issue is to do with culture and the preservation of the German way of life. I'm English and living in Germany, and as I see it, the onus is on me to learn German and fit in with how things are done here. It's not difficult; I work here because I think Germany is a fantastic place to be.
14:21 February 28, 2011 by Surferjoe
Evidence of an Islamic invasion LiberalGuy? You must be joking. Look around you, consider the numbers of muslims who immigrate into the EU each year. These are folks whose holy book *commands * them to jihad against unbelievers and as they all know every word of that book is written by God. If Hitler could have inserted his troops into England in the numbers like the ones we're speaking about the war may well have turned out differently.
14:23 February 28, 2011 by michael4096
@mehta_p - exactly what I'm talking about

You talk with seeming authority about "..Turks and/or many muslims.." but you obviously don't know many. Or perhaps, you only count the unintegrated as still turk - a rather circular and illogical argument.

Have you considered that Erdogan could have actually been addessing his comments to his own people for national polical reasons?
14:57 February 28, 2011 by mehta_p
Yes, i don't know many but i know enough of those kinds to make the comment for logical argument.

If those turks/muslims which you are considering are in good numbers, then germans do not need integration courses.

I am a forigner here. If i have to stay here life long (or to hold German passport), I should be knowing many things about germany which I can teach my next generation so that they become GERMANS as they will be germans as birth.

But when I meet any turk from any generation, they are more turks than Germans. Mixing up for fun is different than to come here and adopt things from germany is different.

About Erdogan, I am not much aware about his politics.
15:14 February 28, 2011 by TylerBryant
@ LiberalGuy, are you for real? I mean that literaly, are you joking? I know you are liberal and all but that is quit amazing. Evidence of an Islamic invasion? There are hole areas in Belgium where you will get hunted down if you are not a muslim and the police is too afraid even to drive into these areas with there police cars.

Seriously, i know you are "liberal" and all but please, don't be stupid and don't be blind. But you know, i don't even half to talk to you, sooner ore later "Islam" will come to you in a way you don't like it anyway.
15:29 February 28, 2011 by LiberalGuy
@surfer joe.

You have any figures for that?

I'm assuming you are refering to jihad as war against non belivers. (though it's literal translation is 'spiritual war' and this has been debated for centuries as to what this meaning means. Some like the British/American historian Bernad Lewis catagorise it as being divided into four parts

1.Jihad against the soul: Struggling against the soul to yearn for the Religion, act upon those teachings, and call others to them.

2.Jihad against Shaytan: Struggling against Satan without doubts or desires.

3.Jihad against the disbelievers and hypocrites: this is done with the tongue, hand, heart and wealth.

4.Jihad against heretics, liars, and evilfolk: This is best done with the hand, if not the hand then the tongue, if that's not possible then the heart

But I digress)

So back to the earlier point. If their holy book 'commands' them to wage war against the non believers than it's safe to say they are doing a pretty lousy job. There are 2.5-3 million turks in Germany, and I haven't really seen any war being waged by them. I may be wrong, but I'm pretty sure there are no masses of Turkish soldiers outisde preparing to storm the Reichstag as we speak.

Another thing you really didn't give me any soultions to the problems you percieve we have. I'm waiting for one.....

I think one soultion would be for EVERYONE to learn a little more about each other and work towards common solutions. In my experience (and I may be wrong, but I accept that), is that alot of the 'Islamphobes' have little if any knowledge about Islam, or any of the other major religions for that matter. If you see Islam (which is Arabic for duty to obey God,) as such a threat, wouldn't it be wise to learn as much as you can about it inorder to properly arm yourself against it??? If you really want to win people to your casue educate yourself and make intelligent arguments, don't rable on about some giant conspiracy for an Islamic take over of Europe. Debate, not Hate
16:09 February 28, 2011 by mehta_p

Are you muslim?

Are you pious muslim?

Do pious muslims drink alcohol?

Do pious muslims drink alcohol, if doctors recommend them?

If yes, Doesn't it show doctor is more important than religion?

Here no one is perfect, still arguing like 'we are the best'. Others do tolerate muslims so they are spreading everywhere in the world. As others don't get tolerated in islamic countries, those have to leave the country.

invasion: any entry into an area not previously occupied

Muslims are spreading everywhere. Instead of adopting local culture and living, they do impose their laws and way of living.


Muslims should start to tolerate non-muslims and adopt the culture and living whereever they go.

(So there won't be integration courses as well)
16:10 February 28, 2011 by michael4096

The need for integration courses depends on the absolute number of potential 'customers'. Say, 200,000 - I'm just inventing this number. The level of integration depends on the relative number of unintegrated. 200,000 out of 200,000 is 0% integrated - a low level. 200,000 out of 3,000,000 is 93% integrated - a high number.

As far as turks thinking themselves turk or german, many I know also think themselves turk - but, ask them about their holidays in turkey and they'll usually tell you that it was great - but, good to get back home.
16:41 February 28, 2011 by LiberalGuy
@ mehta_p

No i'm not muslim, though I have tried to edcate myself of Islam.

I do appreciate you at least put forward a soultion, and in principle I agree with it. though I feel you are probably coming from a bad place in reaching that solution.

Now lets open it up to the others. Please, lets brainstorm. What ideas do you have?? I would love to hear them.

Yes I'm talking to you Surfer Joe

It's one thing to preach how crap things are, it's another to put forward ideas.
16:55 February 28, 2011 by sunsolar
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
17:08 February 28, 2011 by derExDeutsche
Those of you trying to compare Turkish-German customs to German-American customs don't forget, it wasn't just Oktoberfest and Schnitzel that came with those Immigrants.

Don't forget the influence the Nazi party had over German immigrants inside the US leading up to WWII.
17:09 February 28, 2011 by mehta_p

Internet can not be a bad place.

try to gather information regarding

- muslim population in various industrialised countries (increaing) and

- population of non-muslims in islamic countries (decreasing)

what would you like to suggest?


sorry to say it's poor logic.

I don't think so that german government is trying to integrate each and every foreigner.
18:04 February 28, 2011 by T Gonzaga
Let me review that argument once more: "Integration yes, but assimilation No!" How exactly do you "split" this hair in two???? This half-assed argument reminds me of the "Madrugan" exiles in the American novel Up Dog Street. In that story, the immigrants are told to technically integrate a.k.a. superficially, but to remember that their birth place and culture are "Like a tattoo" unalterable. They must always keep their Madrugan identity uppermost, otherwise they are guilty of capitulation. Well, Erdogan's comment filled me with a sense of Deja Vu. I felt I was reading "Up Dog Street" all over again!
18:21 February 28, 2011 by michael4096
"Don't forget the influence the Nazi party had over German immigrants inside the US leading up to WWII. "

Don't forget the influence the US had on the rise of the Nazi party leading up to WWII such as reparations and eugenics.
20:05 February 28, 2011 by William Thirteen
Yawn... i for one patiently await the day Murdoch's fear machine finds a new boogeyman to frighten the mouthbreathers while its govt/corporate cronies rifle their wallets. Yellow Peril anyone?
21:22 February 28, 2011 by derExDeutsche
Yawn.. I for two patiently await the day that the Socialist Propaganda machine called the Media finds a new Al Gore to frighten the mouth breathers while its govt./corporate/unionist cronies rifle their wallets. Make some real money.
22:43 February 28, 2011 by Surferjoe
You want ideas LiberalGuy? Lets start with a complete timeout on all immigration with very few exceptions into the EU until the present lot that are here are successfully integrated.
09:02 March 1, 2011 by LiberalGuy

Are we talking stopping all immigration? Or just muslim immigration? Whats your defeinition of successfully intergrated? What parameters would you put to that criteria?

I'm merely asking you to expand on your statemenmt
13:16 March 1, 2011 by Surferjoe
Well muslim immigration certainly and much of the rest. People forget that space and resources are becoming more valuable throughout the entire world. Perhaps germans can come to realize that quality of life and the condition of our cities is more important than 2 mercedes in every garage.
14:15 March 1, 2011 by LiberalGuy

I completely agree with the last part of what you said. Quality of life should be a priority for people rather than material possesions.

I am going to say something hich is not meant to iritate you or anyone else on here. It seems that alot of people have a problem with muslims cause they don't intergrate, they don't tollerate others, etc, etc. I understand these perceptions, I really do, and I could rattle of 100 things that are negative about Islam or any other religion. But in merely shooting down Islam, aren't you merely making Muslims feel like they are under attack, and then dosen't it stand to reason that they will not intergrate or tolerate others cause they feel they are being victimized. It seems like a never ending circle. One that dosen't really have a happy ending for anyone. Like I've said in previous comments, it's very easy to blame someone, but alot harder to actually come up with solutions, and I find most people on here would rather just blame Muslims, rather then come up with solutions.

Saying that I do believe most people on here rather dislike me, but that's OK, cause at least i'm trying to break the circle, rather then just let it spin out of control
18:05 March 1, 2011 by Surferjoe
We owe it to our children to deal with the problem of immigration effectively. The refusal of many muslims to integrate is one thing but its particularly the political goals of Islam which make it so unwelcome wherever muslims try to push their agenda. Rather than showing respect for cultures like the West that try to make room for them many muslims actively strive for Sharia law and a new Caliphate. Any ill will Islam generates can be laid at its own door.

I recommend jihadwatch.org for more details on the clash of cultures.
01:57 March 2, 2011 by JAMessersmith
I believe that if you are willing to leave your homeland for another country, you should respect the culture of the country that you are imposing yourself upon, rather than dragging the culture of the country you abandoned along with you to your new home.

We here in America are a perfect example of what happens when assimilation doesn't take place amongst large portions of immigrant communities. We're often called a "melting pot" of cultures, which is true to a small extent (mostly in terms of our food culture), but a much more apt description would be a spice rack, in which all the different ingredients are kept separately within the same space. For the most part, whites, blacks, Latinos, Asians, etc... tend to self-segregate and form their own enclaves. Each race, whether consciously or subconsciously, more or less has their own neighborhood, their own church, their own barbershop, their own night club, their own dating service, etc... Just today they were talking on the news about a new scholarship program for white males only (which is in response to all the race-based scholarships for minorities). Of course, it has caused tons of controversy, but poor white teenagers are just as in need of scholarships as poor black teenagers, or poor Latino teenagers, and are no more privileged in their poverty than anyone else. I think race-based scholarships are wrong in the first place, but if you're going to allow them, then discriminating against a lower-class white teenager for the sins that the landed gentry committed against black slaves hundreds of years ago is a bit of a stretch, but this is the kind of pettiness that comes about when countries divide themselves up into opposing groups.

If one looks to the Roman Empire, one will find that racism was almost non-existent, yet the rate of assimilation was incredibly high. This was done intentionally, because the Romans knew that the sharing of a common culture, and language, played into the tribal mentality, which is an intrinsic aspect of human nature. Rather than perpetuating the 'us against them' mentality, it allowed imperial subjects of different ethnicities to bond on a level they never would've had they stubbornly resisted against Roman encroachment.

This concept of unity is something that the United States, rather ironically, and all of its various cultures, and the racial tensions they ignite, badly lacks. Many people often say America has no culture, which is hyperbole, but it hits on the erosion of national identity multiculturalism creates.
11:00 March 2, 2011 by michael4096
Cultures, like language, are fluid. The english spoken on this forum is completely different to that spoken in any country 400 yrs ago. Similarly, cultures change over time and a big driver for that change is immigration - it is very natural and very positive. Simply saying that all immigrants should adopt the new home's culture would create stagnation and is actually counter-productive.

The analogy with the roman empire is inaccurate. Romans, at least in the empire days, tended not to force their culture on conquered peoples but allowed them to carry on just the way they were as long as the paid the tax. People slowly, over many generations, became more romanized because the peace and prosperity that the romans brought with them was considered a superior way of living than the alternatives then available.

The problem is that people think that the way *they* were brought up is the right way - look at most people commenting here. So who decides the right way for cultures to evolve - for immigrants to adapt or for the locals to learn? Nobody can. So keeping bits of cultures alive and well and living in other countries allows children on both sides to choose the direction they go in and for progress to happen.
14:12 March 2, 2011 by Surferjoe
A lot of the english spoken on this forum has little to do with english today michael4096.

Who decides the right way for cultures to evolve? The elites of the dominant culture, thats who. Except now low rent imported labor is threatening to upset the applecart by refusing to integrate and insisting on its right to set up its own dominant culture. If the west continues to import cheap labor at its current rate one guess whose culture will begin to dominate. Low rent becomes low brow becomes no respect.
16:07 March 2, 2011 by LiberalGuy
Surfer Joe, where are you from? What's your background?
17:38 March 2, 2011 by michael4096
Who decides the right way for cultures to evolve? The elites of the dominant culture, thats who.
So, you are a Gadaffi supporter...

The elites are the ones who will always lose when culture changes. They will resist change with every fighter plane they can.

Generally, if the world really followed your reasoning, we'd all still be painting wild cows on the walls of the cave.
17:51 March 2, 2011 by Surferjoe
Don't be silly, the arabs aren't the dominant culture at the moment but they do have aspirations to it backed up by their holy book.
18:15 March 2, 2011 by michael4096
Ah! I begin to understand. You mean the dominant culture in the world as a whole and not the culture dominant in any one place. Or, more simply, forget Omar Kayyam, we got Disney now.

I think I'l get back to my cow here...
18:47 March 2, 2011 by polecat
@derExDeutsche: About 30% of the American troops landing in Normandy were of German descent. Oooops, it's not politically correct to mention that.
20:09 March 2, 2011 by LiberalGuy
SurferJoe I'm really glad you have no impact on my life. I am really scared of the day when someone like you gets any real power.
22:31 March 2, 2011 by diewolke
It is amazing to see the ridiculous arguments going on here. Especially the ones about muslim or arabic people, trying to get over the world. I am sorry to inform you , however, these people are trying to build up a better life in their own countries which were poisoned or supressed thru the years by mostly western countries. Take a look at the history. If you are a little familiar with the holy book of Islam, you would know that the worst sin is to kill a a person whose soul is given by the god. The islamic terrorists are the ones who hide themselves behind religion to justify their acts. Religion is the Achille's heel for many and therefore it is easy to fool people through it.

Use your words correctly, you cannot just label people as muslims and then terrorists right away. Taking the latest scandals in the churches into account, then as a counterargument you might get something like: christians are pedophiles, which is of course not true. Dont make generalizations or you will get the same and then suffer in a vicious circle.

@Mehta_p: Your name sounds very Turkish to me, it is very interesting to saee your arguments about Muslims though.

I am either muslim nor arabic, dont come to me with that question.

Other than that cheers.
01:09 March 3, 2011 by Surferjoe
I don't desire any impact on your life LiberalGuy but Islamists sure do. Its them you ought to be really scared of, not the overdue wakeup call you seem to be sleeping through.

@dlewolke: The islamic terrorists are engaged in jihad as commanded in the Koran. Many of them are not related to Al Queda but simply heeding the call of their holy book which exhorts them to either convert you or kill you. To inform yourself a bit more about this struggle check out www.jihadwatch.org.
05:15 March 3, 2011 by DOZ
Our Culture 1st, and maybe integration 10th.
07:36 March 3, 2011 by marimay
Wow, Surferjoe. I think you'll believe just about anything.

You're easily manipulated. Governments love that. ;)
08:59 March 3, 2011 by michael4096
Manipulated? An Elite of the Dominant Culture?
00:43 March 7, 2011 by swingCrew
xenophobia in the states I think should be addressed as well, greed is a good lesson, it reminds me and my Turkish bretheren how important virtue is: to the greedy we are sophisticated always, to the sophisticated we observe the worth of being meek, to meek we find the wisdom in humility, in humility we gather in wahrheit, in wahrhiet we value a fast, a fast that uplifts a brother and can only live between brothers; virtue more_valid!
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