Via the Local:
Ahead of a visit to Germany on Monday, Turkish President Abdullah Gül has said Turks in Germany deserve more respect, but should also work harder to integrate.
In a joint interview with the weekly newspaper Die Zeit, Gül said Turks had been in Germany for so long that they should play a vital role in its society.
“Today it should be the case that German citizens with Turkish roots should speak accent-free German,” he said.
But he added that children need to begin the integration process in Kindergarten in order for it to really take hold. “If Turks in Germany aren’t sending their children to kindergarten, we have to find out why,” he said.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has in the past raised hackles by telling Turks in Germany they should resist assimilation and ensure their children preserved their Turkish language and culture.
Gül now appears to be attempting a more diplomatic tone, although he also made a few sharp statements in his interview, emphasizing his view that Germans haven’t shown enough respect for the contributions of Turkish guest workers who began arriving in the 1960s.