Riots could be 'self-fulfilling prophecy': Oezdemir

10th November 2005, Comments 0 comments

10 November 2005, BERLIN - A prominent Turkish-German politician has spoken out against the danger that media interest in the French riots will spark similar unrest elsewhere.

10 November 2005

BERLIN - A prominent Turkish-German politician has spoken out against the danger that media interest in the French riots will spark similar unrest elsewhere.

In remarks to Expatica, Cem Özdemir, a Member of the European Parliament and the first German of Turkish origin to be elected to the German Bundestag, warned of creating "a self-fulfilling prophecy."

"Some self-declared experts now are talking about 'when is it happening?', which only attracts young people to do these kinds of unnecessary and stupid things in order to get into the media."

"A lot of camera teams are now running through the streets asking young kids, 'Are you willing to burn cars' and so on," he said. "This is not the kind of thing we need now. What we need to do is talk to community leaders, talk to social workers, listen to them. And not only listen to them when the cars burn - we have to listen to them before the cars burn."

He stressed the differences between the Turkish community in Germany, who came mainly as invited 'Gastarbeiter' ('guest workers') in the 1960s and 1970s, and the North African immigrant communities in France.

"The situation of the Turkish community is a so-called post-'guest worker' situation, moving from guest workers to migrants, whereas in France we're talking about a former colony, so the relationship is a little bit different."

"The second difference is we don't have the banlieus like in France in Germany. We don't have ethnic quote unquote ghettos. We have social problems as well, some of the things we share, but I would say from a broader perspective the social situation in Germany is a lot better than it is in France. What we share for sure is, housing is a problem, that we have to pay attention to."

"The second problem definitely is education. Here the situation is even worse in Germany, as we've seen in the Pisa Study." The Pisa Study compared academic performances of children in different countries, with Germany faring badly.

"The third problem is unemployment - unemployment among migrant youth, and here we're mainly talking about men. This is always a danger if you have young kids in the cities with a migrant background, jobless. That's always a potential danger to do stupid things, and that's something that in all our countries we have to pay attention to."

"In particular in Germany our main homework should be: what are the lessons to learn from the Pisa Study, and how can we make sure that the income of the parents, or the race of the parents, does not decide about the future chances of the kids, which unfortunately in Germany is very extreme."

Mr Özdemir went on to talk about the problems of citizenship. He feels that the new German citizenship law, which allows children born in Germany of foreign nationals to choose whether they want to have German citizenship or their parents' citizenship, came too late.

"The new naturalization legislation established in 2000 will help us in the long term but it comes at least ten years too late. One price we have to pay for that is good soccer players of Turkish descent decide not to play for the German national team."

"If you compare this with other countries, it explains why young people with an immigrant background more and more choose, if they have to choose, not Germany," he said. "They choose the other country, of their parents."

"I think we have to all together in Germany discuss what went wrong and what are the lessons that young people with an immigrant background if they have to choose, don't choose to represent and to be German, for example to play for the German national team."

Copyright Expatica News 2005

Subject: German news, Cem Özdemir, immigration in Germany

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