German politician calls for anthem in Turkish

4th May 2006, Comments 0 comments

4 May 2006, BERLIN - A German politician has called for an official Turkish translation of the German national anthem to be made, in order to promote integration of Germany's Turkish population.

4 May 2006

BERLIN - A German politician has called for an official Turkish translation of the German national anthem to be made, in order to promote integration of Germany's Turkish population.

Hans-Christian Ströbele, a member of parliament for the opposition Greens party in Berlin's Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg district, has proposed that the third verse of the German national anthem be translated into Turkish so that Turkish speakers can also sing it. The third verse is the only one sung on official occasions as others include lines such as the infamous "Deutschland, Deutschland Über Alles."

"I would see it as a sign of integration if citizens of Turkish descent could sing the third verse in Turkish," Ströbele, who has a reputation as something of a maverick even within his own party, told the tabloid newspaper B.Z. "It would symbolize the wide array of languages spoken in Germany."

The proposal is supported by the liberal opposition liberal Free Democrats. "It would be an interesting opportunity for people of different origins and speaking different languages to understand our German culture," commented Sibylle Laurischk, the FDP's integration affairs spokeswoman.

However the proposal has met with criticism from the governing Christian Democrats. "The German national anthem in Turkish would be the opposite of integration," leading CDU politician Wolfgang Bosbach told the B.Z. "Learning to speak and write the German language is the key qualification. So if we were to offer the German anthem in Turkish, it would give the wrong signal for all immigrants living here." Renate Blank from the CDU's Bavarian sister party the CSU also called the proposal a "provocation."

Last week a Spanish version of the American national anthem "The Star-Spangled Banner" was broadcast on radio stations in the US in support of a protest movement by illegal immigrants campaigning for more rights. The Spanish version was criticised by US President George W. Bush, who said "I think people who want to be citizens of this country ought to learn English and they ought to learn to sing the national anthem in English."

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Subject: German news

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