First Published: 2008-02-13

 
Erdogan: assimilation is crime against humanity
 

Turkish PM warns Germany's leaders not to confuse assimilation with integration.

 

Middle East Online

Erdogan: assimilation is different from integration

ANKARA - Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan urged Turks in Germany on Tuesday to reject assimilation, repeating comments that drew a furious response last weekend.

"I repeat... assimilation is a crime against humanity," Erdogan said in a speech to parliament in Ankara.

Erdogan warned Germany's leaders not to confuse assimilation with integration for the nearly three million people of Turkish origin living in the country.

"I explained over there (Germany) that they must differentiate very clearly between assimilation and integration. We can think differently from (Chancellor Angela) Merkel about this, but that is my opinion," Erdogan said.

During a speech before 20,000 members of the Turkish community in Cologne Sunday, Erdogan warned Turks against assimilation and encouraged them to safeguard their own culture.

The comments came amid heightened tensions, just days after a fire in an apartment building in the southwestern city of Ludwigshafen cost the lives of nine Turks.

Turkish media speculated that the blaze was possibly a racist attack and Erdogan called for a rapid probe. Turkish immigrants were victims of a string of firebombings in Germany in the early 1990s.

But some German politicians seem to continue confusing assimilation with integration.

"I believe that integration means there is a willingness to adapt to a country's way of life," Merkel said.

Erdogan's comments prompted a backlash from German centre-right parties, which have long been hostile to Turkey's attempts to join the European Union.

Erwin Huber, head of the Christian Social Union (CSU) -- the Bavarian sister party to Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU), said in an interview with a Munich newspaper that Germany should reconsider whether EU membership talks with Ankara were still "sensible".

Although the German government officially supports EU accession negotiations with Turkey, both the CDU and CSU would prefer a so-called "privileged partnership" agreement rather than fully-fledged membership.

Peter Struck, the head of the parliamentary group of Germany's Social Democrats, partners in the governing coalition, called Erdogan's remarks "totally unacceptable".

But he said the row should have no influence over Ankara's EU membership talks.

 

Tunisia votes for president in final leg of democratic transition

Barzani in Mount Sinjar after end of jihadist siege

Egypt President removes powerful spy chief

UAE blames 'irresponsible' non-OPEC output for oil price plunge

Turkey TV regulator fines popular show over ‘dance with foreigners’

Coalition targets ‘Islamic State’ in areas north of Aleppo

Libya Islamist-backed government urges foreigners to return to Tripoli

Palestinians enter Egypt as Rafah crossing reopens for two days

Davutoglu accuses EU of 'dirty campaign' against Turkey

Raid on terrorists accidentally kills Saudi youth in Awamiya town

Egypt sentences ‘spy for Israel’ to ten years in prison

Jordan ends eight-year moratorium on death penalty

Turkey acquits sociologist over 1998 explosion

EU foreign affairs head to visit Iraq

Turkey court remands Samanyolu TV chief in custody

IS threatens to kill Lebanese soldiers held hostage

Obama concerned about Egypt mass trials

Tough times for oil-rich GCC

Tumbling oil prices cut budgets of Mideast arms exporters

Iraq’s peshmerga ‘break’ Mount Sinjar siege

Turkish media chiefs charged with terrorism

Iraq may delay payment of Kuwait war reparations

Over $900 million needed to help Syria children

Saudi rules out oil output reduction

Dutch populist lawmaker to be tried for 'fewer Moroccans' vow

Outrage in Algeria over Islamist call for Algerian author's death

Iraq Kurds, coalition launch offensive to retake Sinjar

Three years to end Israeli occupation in UN resolution

Yemen’s Huthis seize Sanaa state offices

Somalia appoints new PM after bitter infighting

Blow to Israel: EU court removes Hamas from terror blacklist

Sharp rise in Syria passport applications

Turkey FM visit to Iran highlights Syria divide

UK troops mistreated Iraq detainees in 2004

Saudi to carry on massive public spending

Iran to Australia: We warned you about the gunman

From bikini to Jihad in Ceuta, Melilla

Tunisia votes Sunday in second round of presidential poll

Islamist militias launch air strike near key Libyan oil terminals

Egypt refers 312 Islamists to military courts

Turkey rejects EU criticism over media arrests

Kerry meets chief Palestinian negotiator

Saudi cleric sparks uproar for showing wife’s face

15,000 march against country’s ‘Islamisation’ in eastern Germany

Key oil producers face uncertain outlook in 2015