Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.

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 ]

Others have rated this comment as follows:


Occasional Series