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'Learn German!' Turkish PM urges German Turks

The Local · 31 Oct 2012, 08:55

Published: 31 Oct 2012 08:55 GMT+01:00

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More than 1,400 guests attended the opening of the biggest Turkish embassy in the world in central Berlin, including German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle.

"We want the Turks in Germany to speak fluent German," Erdogan said in his speech. "In this sense they should be bilingual and participate more and more in life here."

"They should not see themselves as guests here," he said. "They should see themselves as belonging here." At the same time, he said Turks should recognize that "a strong Turkey, with a strong economy and an active foreign policy" was standing behind them.

In his speech, Westerwelle emphasized that the three million people of Turkish origin living in Germany enriched German culture. "We cannot imagine our society without them. They are a part of us," he said.

He also called for greater cooperation between Turkey and the European Union, and said the two-year stalemate in negotiations for Turkey's entry into the EU was not doing either side any good.

Acknowledging that Turkey had realized many reforms, he promised a "new beginning" on talks in the coming year. "There is a lot still to do, but important stages have been reached," he said.

Erdogan also offered Turkey's help in the ongoing euro debt crisis.

The new embassy was built on property bought by the Ottoman Empire in 1918, where Turkey's old embassy was situated until 1944, when it was destroyed by Allied bombs in World War II.

Erdogan is scheduled to hold a meeting with Chancellor Angela Merkel on Wednesday.

Story continues below…

DAPD/The Local/bk

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

10:39 October 31, 2012 by lucksi
Cue outrage from the Turkish community and maybe even calls for the death of the guy who dared to suggest that Turks should learn German in 3..2...1

No wait, it was Erdogan.

Meh, cue outrage anyway.
11:37 October 31, 2012 by pepsionice
For those who haven't figure out the current balance of things....with the bad economy existing in Spain, Greece, and Italy....there are ton's of educated Europeans (not Turks)....will to relocate to Germany and take what jobs they can. The Germans....if given the choice....would prefer to take them over the Greeks. There's going to be a point in the next six months as we edge closer to German elections where this topic comes up. The Chancellor will circle the wagons, protect the Europeans, and lessen the number of Turks allowed to come in. Since Turkey isn't part of the EU....it will make perfect sense.

If I were the PM of Turkey....I'd be working on making good positive relations right now and hope the topic doesn't come up.
12:52 October 31, 2012 by MrMooochy
@ pepsionice

Not sure which decade you are living in, maybe the 1970s. The Turks are alreay in Germany, something on the order of 3 million (a large percentage of whom were born in Germany). I believe they are the largest ethnic group in Germany, far outnumber ethnic Greeks and ethnic Spainards residing in Germany. The first wave of Turkish immigrants started coming in the late 1950s. The number of Turks immigrating to Germany generally began to decrease from the mid 1970s onwards.

There has been some reverse immigration of Turks out of Germany to Turkey. Not sure how much but well over the 100.000 number total in the past couple decades. I am also not sure of the level of net immigration from Turkey to Germany nowadays. Relatively low these days, maybe 10.000 / year or so.
15:04 October 31, 2012 by catjones
Language is not the barrier to Turkish advancement in germany.
16:39 October 31, 2012 by The-ex-pat
@ catjones

Nail, head and squarely hit!
17:17 October 31, 2012 by JWS
The Turkish are the largest ethnic group in Germany? What happened to all the Ethnic Germans?

00:53 November 1, 2012 by smart2012
Pepsionice, u got it completely wrong. Now Germany is realizing how turkey is appealing as turkey is growing crazily, that is why Verkel is pushing for building good relations with turkey. And having Turkish people speaking German could help German companies to find managers for turkey. It is actually not Germany giving a favor to turkey, it is the other way around. Reco for Turkish: go to turkey and live there, u will make more money faster..
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