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.
President worried that a declining birth rate may undermine economic growth
Turkish energy minister Yildiz addresses Putin decision to scrap South Stream project and opt for alternative route through Turkey
Around 150 students are occupying Libyan embassy in Ankara in a row over unpaid scholarships.
Davutoglu will see President Ivanov and Prime Minister Gruevski in Macedonia. Minorities Representative of the Turkish Democratic Party Kemal Hasip will also meet with the minister. Ways to increase 400 million dollar business increased to $1 billionwill be sought during the meeting.
Sarajevo Stock Exchange to link up order-routing system with Borsa Istanbul in 2015.
Pro-Kurdish HDP politicians meet Turkish deputy prime minister to push solution process forward, but claim many issues remain unresolved.
Istanbul Police Department launch 55 operations against drug abuse across city and have detained around 200 people in the last ten days.
The incident occurred in the Nusaybin area of Mardin province, near the border with Syria, during a military patrol, according to the General Staff website.
Turkish minister of Transport and Communications Lutfi Elvan says government plans to open Istanbul's third bridge over Bosphorus in October.
Turkish newspapers have focused on the prime minister's remarks on corruption, an anticipated parliamentary commission ruling on last December's anti-fraud probe, plus the shooting dead of two police officers in New York
Davutoglu says they will foil all attempts that reach out for Turkey's national will and resources masked as anti-graft efforts
Haniyeh said the Turkish support has proven vital in easing the suffering of the residents of the blockaded Gaza Strip.
Energy minister says government plans large-scale investment in Kahramanmaras, indicating foreign interest in similar investments in Turkey's Mediterranean city
Some 1,122 -over 26 percent of total- of foreign-partnered companies were founded directly by Syrians or as partners with local businessmen between January and November.
Turkey's AFAD says the government spent nearly $12 million in aid to shelter-seekers from Kobani
Hundreds of people from all backgrounds have gathered in Ankara at the Pakistan embassy to honour the victims of the Peshawar attack this week.