World Bulletin-News Desk
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Saturday that assimilation was a crime against humanity as he had stated in Germany two years ago.
Speaking at a joint press conference with the German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin, Erdogan said that "assimilation was the permutation of the values of humans. At times, this is permutation of religion and culture. At times, assimilation is putting pressure on individuals to leave aside their customs and traditions and such a behaviour happens to be a crime against humanity. It is impossible for me to change my thoughts on what assimilation is".
Erdogan's comments on "assimilation" came after he was asked if he still thought assimilation was a crime against humanity as he stated in Cologne two years ago.
"German help on EU accession"
Turkey's bid to enter the European Union must not be allowed to slow down, Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday, highlighting Ankara's increasing frustration with the speed of accession talks to the club.
"The process must not slow," Erdogan told a joint news conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, adding the EU would have to keep its promises and calling on Germany for help.
"We are decisively continuing with this process of accession negotiations, especially where they are about international and regional relations," Erdogan added.
Touching on Turkey-EU relations, Erdogan said that he reminded Merkel that the EU should fulfill its promises made to Turkey.
I believe that Germany, with its special relations with Turkey, can set up a positive example to other EU states by liberalizing visa procedures for the Turks, Erdogan said.
Merkel said talks were on track but the result remained unclear. "(Turkey's) accession talks are taking place and the process continues. The process has an open result," she said.
The EU Commission is finalising its annual report on how Turkey is progressing on EU requirements. An impasse over Cyprus, an EU member that Turkey has refused to recognise, will be seen as the main outstanding problem.
Merkel said both sides on the divided Mediterranean island -- the Greek Cypriots and the Turkish Cypriots -- would have to move to break the impasse. "Where a problem must be solved, both sides have to move," she said.
When a journalist said opening of new chapter headings were prevented because of political reasons, Merkel said talks were underway with the Greek Cypriot party to overcome the problem.
Merkel said she would travel to Cyprus in January to offer Germany's help.
Turkey, which straddles Asia and Europe, started formal membership negotiations with the bloc in 2005.
Erdogan also said. " I have asked the support of Germany in Turkey's fight against the terrorist organization and to strengthen our joint struggle platform against the terrorist organization."
Turkey and Germany will also cooperate closely on fighting terrorism and the two interior ministries have founded a commission for this purpose, Merkel said.
Ankara, the EU and the United States brand Turkey's rebel Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) a terrorist organisation. The PKK launched an armed campaign against the Turkish state in 1984 for a Kurdish homeland in southeastern Turkey.
"Assimilation not on the agenda of the German government"
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Saturday that assimilation was not a matter that was on the agenda of the German government.
Merkel said it was important that Turks living in Germany should learn German, adopt values of German society and noted that Turkish youngsters, particularly who had to drop out of school, had to be given equal opportunities.
Merkel said integration of Turks to Germany as well as bilateral and economic relations were discussed in her meeting with Erdogan. "We also discussed preparations of G-20 and NATO summit and took up Cyprus issue," she noted.
Merkel said she invited Erdogan to CeBIT information fair scheduled to take place in Hannover city of Germany. Turkey will be the guest country of the fair on February 28.
Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu says Syrian opposition fighters and Iraqi Kurds are legitimate forces fighting against ISIL.
Saturday Mothers, whose first sit-in to protest the disappearance of their loved ones, bring justice to governmental officials responsible for disappearanceson 27 May 1995, reaches up week 500
Letters containing yellow substance were delivered to Istanbul consulates on Friday; 25 held for medical observation
Death toll of traffic accident in Turkey’s western province of Afyon rises to eight.
The Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism is continuing its policy of preventing the entry of Syrian cultural heritage into Turkey
Turkish actors, singers and artists are using their profile and fame to listen to the country's Kurdish community as Turkey tries to heal the wounds from recent street protests.
The European Union is in discussions to grant €70 million to Turkey to help it cope with the massive influx of Syrian refugees on its territory
Pope Francis has said he wanted to overcome the obstacles between the Catholic and Orthodox churches during his upcoming Turkey visit in November
Packets of an unidentified yellow powder were sent to five western consulates in Istanbul, officials sai
Turkish Foreign Ministry's spokesperson Tanju Bilgic says Greek foreign minister's "logic" is wrong and undermining the Cyprus peace talks.
Although warfare is forbidden during the Islamic New Year, the major conflicts raging across Turkey's neighborhood.
The authorities said six guns (two pistols, two rifles and two guns for firing blanks) were seized in morning operations on several addresses.
General Staff says that details of how Kurdish peshmerga forces would cross through the country to Syria have not been released.
Numan Kurtulmus says Islamic world still suffering from 'unequal' postwar system
"We have had no cases of Ebola in our country," the Director General of Turkey’s Health for Border and Coastal Areas says.