The third column of Turks

Prime minister Erdogan has visited Germany last few days. During the visit he also gave a speech to some 20.000 Turks in a German stadium. The speech was of course in Turkish and no translation was offered to his host.

In the speech Erdogan ordered his nearly 3 million Turks, who currently live in Germany, to stay loyal to the mother country. He said to the ecstatic crowd: “Integration is an crime against humanity”. But he said it was allowed to learn German, but full assimilation should not happen, “The Turkish language is at least as important” as the German language. He also emphasized the importance of keep honoring the Turkish culture.

In an other part of the visit, he met with German prime minister Angele Merkel. During the public part of the meeting he said “In Germany, it should be possible for high schools to be set up where the teaching is in Turkish”, adding he also favored the idea of Turkish-language universities in Germany. For immigrants to speak better German, Erdogan explained, they have to be able to speak their own mother tongue first. He did of course not elaborate on the fact that many Turks in Germany are already for generations in Germany. Instead Erdogan said he wanted to send Turkish teachers from Turkey to Germany and create Turkish schools. This would help the immigrants along. “The German government should have no problem with that,” Erdogan continued, adding that, “whatever needs to be done for integration, should be done.” Apparently his idea of integration is very different from what most Europeans expect from it. He also plead for existing German high schools to hire teachers from Turkey to ease the language barrier immigrants often face in their adopted country. As to be expected, the press reported that Merkel was caught by surprise.

After these meetings Erdogan went to the 44th Munich Conference on Security Policy last Saturday. The conference who calls it self the “Davos for security policy” had invited Erdogan to deliver the openings speech which he of course did not in English but in Turkish. Theme of this year conference: “world in disarray – shifting powers – lack of strategies”. How symbolic!

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