Germany's Turks feel Chancellor Merkel does not speak for them

13th March 2008, Comments 0 comments

The survey contradicts the chancellor’s statement last month.

Berlin -- Germany's large Turkish community feels that Chancellor Angela Merkel does not speak for their interests, according to a survey published Wednesday.

The survey of 400 German Turks, conducted by the Emnid institute, contradicted Merkel's statement, made during a visit last month by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan, that she represented everyone in Germany.

Addressing her remarks to young people born to Turkish parents in Germany, Merkel said: "I am your chancellor."

The poll, published by the weekly Die Zeit, found that 78 percent of Turks rejected that claim, with the figure rising to 85 percent among those with German nationality.

Statistics from 2006 show 1.7 million residents are Turkish nationals. Including those acquiring German nationality by birth or naturalization, the Turkish community totals 2.4 million in a population of 82 million.

The government's commissioner for integration, Maria Boehmer, said the results showed "that we have a lot to do to increase the sense of belonging among migrants of Turkish origin."

The Emnid survey found that 58 percent of Turks felt unwanted in Germany and 44 percent were opposed to intermarriage with Germans.

In line with a call from Erdogan for Turks not to abandon their identity, 92 percent said "Turks in Germany should maintain their own culture."

While encouraging Turks to learn German at a mass rally in Cologne on February 10, Erdogan said in a remark that was widely criticized in Germany: "Assimilation is a crime against humanity."

Despite the negative sentiments, most Turks in Germany expressed satisfaction with their new home, according to the survey.

Boehmer said Germans should remember that first-generation Turks, many of whom came to Germany during the boom years of the 1960s, had made a significant contribution to German prosperity.

DPA with Expatica

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