Ethnic Turk MP blasts ex-German chancellor

30th November 2004, Comments 0 comments

30 November 2004, BERLIN - An ethnic Turkish member of Germany's ruling Social Democratic Party (SPD) sharply crticised remarks by former Chancellor Helmut Schmidt last week calling the immigration of people from "alien cultures" a mistake. Lale Akgun, who is the SPD's expert on Islamic issues, expressed her "deep mortification" at Schmidt's comments made to the Hamburger Abendblatt newspaper and called them a "fatal political signal". "I came to Germany in 1962 and today I am 51 years old," she wrote in a

30 November 2004

BERLIN - An ethnic Turkish member of Germany's ruling Social Democratic Party (SPD) sharply crticised remarks by former Chancellor Helmut Schmidt last week calling the immigration of people from "alien cultures" a mistake.

Lale Akgun, who is the SPD's expert on Islamic issues, expressed her "deep mortification" at Schmidt's comments made to the Hamburger Abendblatt newspaper and called them a "fatal political signal".

"I came to Germany in 1962 and today I am 51 years old," she wrote in an open letter.

"I belong to those people whom you would now retroactively deny their legitimacy to live here in Germany when you call it a 'mistake' that to have brought in people 'from alien cultures'," she added.

Akgun, who has a doctorate in psychology, said "I feel deep mortification" at Schmidt's comments.

She also said his remarks were also mortifying "not only to the life accomplishments of the migrants of the first generation who worked hard, but were also a fatal political signal".

Akgun said the question is now no longer one about whether immigration was right or wrong, "since what were talking about now is 50 years of the history of Germany, the joint history of Germans and immigrants".

She said it might be that there remained a lot to be improved regarding the social integration of many youths in today's third generation. But she also pointed out that many immigrants could point to having succeeded in the university and in their professions

Akgun's open letter comes amid the controversy stirred by Schmidt's interview remarks the previous week in the Abendblatt, when the 85-year-old former SPD leader said it had been a mistake to allow immigration and also attacked the idea of multiculturalism. He also focussed on Germans' inability to cope with other cultures.

DPA

Subject: German news

 

0 Comments To This Article