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.

 

Calm reigns over Gaza amid celebrations

US rules out coordination with Syria on targeting jihadists

UN moves to impose sanctions on Libya militias

Algeria president sacks Belkhadem

Saudi Arabia could earn $8.5 billion from Mecca pilgrimage

Mother of US hostage to leader of Islamic State: Please spare my son

Turkey ruling party officially approves Davutoglu as new PM

US spy agencies face difficult task in Syria

Saudi Arabia jails 18 militants on terror charges

Gazans breathe sigh of relief

Litany of horrors becomes regular fixture in jihadist-held Syria

Iraq forces mass for onslaught on jihadist siege of Amerli

Doha offers help to rebuild Gaza

Iran alters Arak heavy water reactor over Western worries

New Turkey PM leaves successor troubled legacy

Palestinians ‘reach’ long-term Gaza truce with Israel

Barzani: Iran provided us with weapons

US to track jihadists in Syria with spy planes

Top Iran official in Saudi to repair strained ties

Drums of war are beating anew on Capitol Hill

Israel air raid in Gaza kills two Palestinians

Deadly bus tragedy in Egypt

Car bomb rips through Baghdad intersection

Shebab flee Somalia strategic town in latest advance of African troops

South Sudan warring leaders sign fresh ceasefire deal

Who’s funding extremists? Qatar struggles to clean up tarnished image

Abadi calls on militias to come under Iraq state control

Nile dam row at heart of talks in Sudan

Ansar Sharia calls for jihadist unity in Libya

No let-up in Gaza war as Egypt raises new truce proposal

Thousands march in support of Yemen President’s call for national unity

Syria reaches out to former foes in fight against ‘terrorism’

Libya parliament names new army chief

Egypt warns only disarmament could spare Libya from intervention

Egypt offers new Gaza ceasefire

Iran to Israel: we will arm Palestinians

American held hostage for 22 months in Syria freed

Iraq calls for global support in fighting jihadists

Iran bolsters arsenal with new drones and missiles

Arab ministers discuss ‘rise of extremism’ in Saudi Arabia

In Jordan, students stay home as teachers strike

Iran ‘shoots down’ Israel drone near Natanz nuclear site

Netanyahu vows to maintain Israel offensive in Gaza ‘as long as necessary’

Libya neighbours meet in Egypt amid serious concerns

Zarif meets Ashton in September to discuss framework for renewed talks