Germany: Merkel says immigrants need to come to terms with Germany's way of life

Chancellor Angela Merkel said Monday that immigrants need ultimately to come to terms with Germany's way of life, amid criticism of an assertion by Turkey's prime minister that assimilation is "a crime against humanity."

Merkel welcomed Recep Tayyip Erdogan's call for integration and for immigrants to learn German during a weekend speech in Cologne to a gathering of some 16,000 people of Turkish origin — but also argued that the two countries need to talk more about how they understand integration.

Erdogan said that "those who do not learn German from the beginning will always be at a disadvantage." While he urged Turks who live here to see themselves as part of Germany, he also argued that integration should not mean giving up their own culture.

"Assimilation is a crime against humanity," he said.

Speaking in Hamburg on Monday, Merkel said, "It is naturally the case that living permanently in a country brings with it a stronger acceptance of this country's customs."

"Integration naturally presupposes that there is a readiness to come to terms with the way of life of a certain country in which (one) is living as part of the fourth, fifth or sixth generation," she said.

Germany is home to some 2.7 million people of Turkish origin; an estimated 500,000 are German citizens. While many are fully integrated in society, others speak German poorly and tend to stay within large Turkish-speaking communities.

Merkel stressed that all Germans are equal, whatever their origins. "That does not mean that they cannot have their own cultural background, but their loyalty belongs to the German state."

Merkel and Erdogan met in Berlin on Friday, and the chancellor gave a cool response to a suggestion from the Turkish leader that Turkish-language schools should be set up in Germany, for which Turkey could provide teachers.

Merkel argued Monday that it would be more conducive to integration to attract more German residents of Turkish origin into the teaching profession.

"I expressed my reservations against Turkish teachers coming to Germany to teach lessons to young people of Turkish origin who live here," she said.

A senior conservative ally of Merkel was openly critical of Erdogan's comments on assimilation.

Bavarian Governor Guenther Beckstein said on N24 television they meant "that there are tendencies toward ghettoization with the support of the Turkish government."

"We must speak very openly and seriously with the Turkish government," Beckstein said. "That cannot remain this way."

Source: IHT (English)

See also: Germany: Erdogan calls on Turks not to assimilate, Germany: Erdogan calls for Turkish schools and universities


Anonymous said...

I really don't understand . . . if they like Turkey and the Turkish culture so much, why don't they live in Turkey?!

Anonymous said...

When France/Netherlands/UK/Italy/Spain etc occupied muslim lands nobody told them to integrate. In fact they lived in their own ghetos. Now we have the same people calling others to "integrate" when they actually mean assimilate. Also muslim countries have several European schools financed by European countries. Why can't Turkey do the same in Germany? Or is this the same old Erupean colonial and superiority complex at work again?