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The prime minister goes on to address the integration of Turks in Germany. "I understand that you are sensitive about the issue of assimilation," Erdogan says. "No one can demand that from you." Assimilation -- in other words, conforming to German culture -- is a catchword that Turkish immigrants associate with their fear of losing their national identity. Erdogan does not repeat the controversial demand he made to German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Friday, when he called for the founding of Turkish-language educational institutions in Germany. Today, he only says: "It is your natural right to teach your children their mother tongue."

During his long speech, Erdogan plays the integration card as he sees fit. He makes conciliatory noises, but he stops short of making a plea for assimilation. Although much remains vague, at times he takes a pragmatic tone. "Take advantage of Germany's educational institutions," he says. "It's a disadvantage if you don't speak the language of the country." Nevertheless, his speech, in which the phrases "we Turks" and "the Germans" appear again and again, does deliver a clear message: You may live in Germany, but you are Turks -- and I am your prime minister.

The original text in German also quotes Erdogan as adding:

"I understand very well the sensitive point of assimilation. No one can expect you to tolerate assimilation. No one can expect that you submit to assimilation. Because assimilation is a crime against humanity. You should be aware of that."

by Lynch on Sun Sep 12th, 2010 at 04:25:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I really don't understand why you insist on using secondary sources when there is a perfectly fine link to the primary source in a post that I know you've read, because you replied to it.

But here we go again:

I understand the sensitivity you show towards assimilation very well. Nobody can expect you to tolerate assimilation. No one can expect from you that you submit to an assimilation. Because assimilation is a crime against humanity, you should be aware. But we must also take note of the following: you can in today's Germany, in Europe today, in today's world, no longer be regarded as "the Other", as one who is only here temporarily. Consider The Turkish community has spent fully 47 years for this country. Not only in Germany, many European countries is approaching the number of our citizens, almost five million. It is noteworthy that despite this huge operation, despite the numerical strength, certain basic problems in these countries are still not on the agenda. Of course, our children will learn Turkish. This is to share your native language and it is their natural right, your mother your children.

However, if you learn the language of the country where you live, or even a few more languages, you would benefit from it in every way. Look, many of our children here learning at an early age no foreign languages. These children are confronted with German only when they start school. And that means that these children have in comparison to the other students the school career with a handicap of one who begins from scratch. But it would be for you and your children in any way be beneficial if you exploit the opportunities offered by the local school system.

In the Germanic language group, there is a distinction between integration - conforming to the laws and etiquette of society - and assimilation - wholesale replacement of language, mannerisms, cuisine and so on. The line is somewhat fuzzy, and on many individual issues reasonable people can disagree on what is a matter of personal taste and what is a breach of etiquette.

I personally find that framing somewhat contrived, but that's the context he speaks into.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sun Sep 12th, 2010 at 06:44:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This assimilation-integration thing must be embedded in a Germany context. The fall-back position of German conservatives after the abandonment of the guest worker fantasy was that immigrants indeed have to choose between identities: be a German, or be a Turk. In their view, there is no such thing as having both; someone claiming a German identity while not ready to let loose of the Turkish one is a 100% Turk in disguise to get the benefits of German citizenship. Or, at least, that's the ideology behind their categorical rejection of double citizenship a few years earlier, and later expressed views on education and 'leading culture' followed from that. This is what Erdogan reacted to.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun Sep 12th, 2010 at 06:02:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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