German President Christian Wulff will pay a visit to Turkey on Monday at the invitation of his Turkish counterpart, Abdullah Gül, to hold talks on the Turkish community’s difficulties integrating in Germany as well as with Turkey’s European Union membership talks. This will be the first visit from a German head of state to Turkey in 10 years.
…Muslims in Germany, including the Turkish community, highly regard the newly elected German president, particularly after his remarks earlier this month that “Islam also belongs in Germany.” Wulff delivered the remarks at a festival in Bremen celebrating the 20th anniversary of Germany’s reunification.
Tensions between Muslim immigrants, estimated to number 4 million and mostly ethnic Turks, and the German government have been simmering since an outspoken board member of Germany’s central bank, Thilo Sarrazin, accused Muslim immigrants last summer of leeching off the welfare state, refusing to integrate and lowering the nation’s intelligence. Wulff’s warm remarks relieved the Muslim community in the country.
Wulff is scheduled to meet with Gül and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan next week. The details of the Erdoğan-Wulff meeting were also discussed during the former’s visit to Germany to have talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Oct. 8.
Germany adamantly opposes Turkey’s full European Union membership and proposes a “privileged partnership” for the candidate countries as an alternative to the membership. Turkey claims the EU leaders have pledged Turkey that membership talks will lead to only full membership and it claims the promises should be honored.
According to Merkel, “multiculturalism in Germany has failed miserably“.
She said the so-called “multikulti” concept – where people would “live side-by-side” happily – did not work, and immigrants needed to do more to integrate – including learning German.
The comments come amid rising anti-immigration feeling in Germany.
A recent survey suggested more than 30% of people believed the country was “overrun by foreigners“.
The study – by the Friedrich Ebert Foundation think-tank – also showed that roughly the same number thought that some 16 million of Germany’s immigrants or people with foreign origins had come to the country for its social benefits.
Germany: 69% against Turkish entry in the EU, poll shows.
CDU politician calls to stop Muslim immigration.
“Muslims should obey Constitution, not Sharia”, Merkel says.
Conservative leaders reject Wullf’s remarks on Islam.
Germany agrees in making easier for Turks to get visas.