Germany's president urged Turks and Germans Tuesday to see they "are closely connected" as he sought to ease a simmering debate on whether Berlin had failed in efforts to integrate Muslim immigrants.
"We have to realise that we are closely connected," Christian Wulff, the first German president to visit Turkey in a decade, told reporters after talks with his Turkish counterpart Abdullah Gul.
"We are old friends.... The things that connect us are much more than the things that keep us apart," he said.
Via the Local:
President Christian Wulff on Tuesday attempted to tone down Germany's simmering integration debate, slamming “blanket judgement” of Turkish immigrants at the start of his state visit to Turkey.
In the wake of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s tough rhetoric at the weekend, when she claimed that multiculturalism had “utterly failed,” Wulff stressed that Germany was not condemning an entire community.
“I consider it wrong to claim that a whole group cannot and does not want to integrate,” he told Turkish newspaper Hürriyet, in an interview published Tuesday. “I am against any blanket judgement.”