Turkey’s Prime Minister Erdogan told a Cologne gathering of 20,000 people of Turkish background they should not assimilate into Germany but should retain their Turkish identify at all costs. He said: “Assimilation is a curse against humanity. I may be thinking differently from Merkel on this issue but I clearly say that nobody can dictate to the Turkish community to assimilate. We are ready to do whatever is necesary for their integration,” German Chancellor Merkel was furious at his remarks and noted “we will have to continue debating our understanding of integration issues with the Turkish Prime Minister.” His comments also aroused strong opposition from Kenan Kolat, a leader of the Turkish community in Germany, who argued Erdogan wants German Turks to remain loyal to their native land while supposedly being able to lobby for Turkey’s entry into the European Union.
The cries for opposing Turkey’s entry into the EU became louder as a result of the Turkish prime minister’s speech. German Social Union leader, Erwin Huber, angrily responded: “Erdogan has engaged in nationalist propaganda in German territory. This is an anti-European stance” and raises questions as to whether the EU wants such a nation.
Prime Minister Erdogan has seriously damaged his nation’s application for membership in the European Union by this ill advised tirade against Turkish assimilation into German society. No one is demanding Turkish Germans cease having an identify with their country of origin. Chancellor Merkel is merely urging becoming part of German society and all that entails such as language and understanding cultural and political issues. It is somewhat ironic that a Turkish prime minister is making political speeches in another country given that he previously claimed the United States and other nations had no right to make comments about the Armenian Genocide. On one hand, the rest of the world is to remain silent about an issue that happened in Turkey a hundred years ago, but he has the right to campaign in Germany and urge its citizens to behave in certain ways.