Turkish minority rights high on 2009 Turkey, Germany agenda

Debates were high on the agenda in Germany on lifting visa and granting double citizenship for Turkish citizens.

Turkish minority rights high on 2009 Turkey, Germany agenda

Free Democratic Party (FDP), which is positive towards Turkey's EU membership, became a coalition partner after the general elections in Germany on September 27 out of which the Christian Union parties CDU/CSU came as winners.

In coalition contract, it was decided to pursue EU membership negotiations with Turkey as "open-ended", and if Turkey's membership is rejected, Turkey would be proposed "privileged partnership".

Social Democratic Party (SPD), which lost the elections, is supporting Turkey's EU membership. FDP is also supporting Turkey's membership if Turkey fulfils required political and economic criteria.

Meanwhile, five deputies of Turkish descent entered Federal Parliament, and a Turk, Serkan Toren, was elected parliamentarian from FDP for the first time.

Also Mehmet Kilic entered Parliament from Green Party for the first time while Ekin Deligoz --who was elected parliamentarian for the fourth time from Green Party-- nominated for party's group deputy chairperson.

On the other hand, Turkish State Minister & Chief Negotiator for EU talks Egemen Bagis visited Berlin, and said that Turkey's EU membership process would be easier if Turkish entrepreneurs made initiatives and employ more people in Europe.

VISA procedures

Debates were high on the agenda in Germany on lifting visa and granting double citizenship for Turkish citizens, and giving election right in local elections to all migrants in the country.

Harun Gumrukcu, a lecturer of Akdeniz University, attended a meeting in Berlin and said that the decision of European Court of Justice (ECJ) --which ruled a Turkish truck driver Mehmet Soysal did not have to take visa to enter Europe-- was valid for all Turkish citizens. Gumrukcu said that visa procedure which had been applied on Turks for 29 years was not legal.

German Interior Ministry stated that the decision of ECJ was valid only for Turkish citizens who were carrying products to Germany.

Double citizenship and election right

While SPD and many Turkish associations were asking double citizenship for Turks living in Germany as well as election right in local elections for migrants coming from non-EU member states, several politicians especially the ones from Christian Union party objected double citizenship by saying that a person could feel loyalty for only one country. These politicians also called on migrants to become German citizens to be able to cast votes in elections.

Turkish associations also objected the application which forces migrant spouses to learn German language before they came to Germany within the scope of family unions as well as migrants (who were born and grew up in Germany) to choose one of the citizenship while they were between the ages 18 and 23.

Meanwhile, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who visited Hannover city, met with representatives of Turkish civil society organizations and asked them to participate in general elections in Germany and to become German citizens to benefit from all rights.

Turkish Finance Minister Mehmet Simsek, who met with Turkish businessmen in Dusseldorf city, reminded that double taxation agreement between Turkey and Germany would be valid till January 2011, adding that efforts were under way to sign a new agreement.

Condemnation of attacks on Gaza

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke to German Chancellor Angela Merkel on the phone about Israeli attacks on Gaza Strip in new year.

Erdogan said that a cease-fire should be signed immediately as Gaza did not have patience any more, and he proposed Germany and western world to put pressure on Israel. Merkel also stressed the necessity for an urgent cease-fire.

Meanwhile, many Arabs and Turks besides Palestinians participated in demonstrations in Germany to protest Israeli attacks on Gaza.

On the other hand, military relations between Turkey and Germany were revived with the visit of Chief of Turkish General Staff Gen. Ilker Basbug to Berlin.

Commercial and cultural relations

Commercial and cultural relations between the two countries continued intensively in 2009.

Speaking at Turkish-German Economic Congress, Rainhardt Freiherr von Leoprechting, the president of the European Trade Association (EuroCommerce), said that despite the negative influence of global economic crisis, there was a high potential in the economic relations between the two countries. Turkish Agriculture & Rural Affairs Minister Mehdi Eker, who attended the congress, stressed the importance of lifting the quotas in commerce.

Turkish-German movies weeks took place in several cities of Germany, and also many Turkish exhibitions opened.

Reaction to critisable statements of Sarrazin against Turks

Turkish and migration associations as well as Jewish community in Germany strongly reacted to the statements of one of the former finance ministers of Berlin Thilo Sarrazin who insulted Turks and other foreigners living in Berlin.

Speaking to a culture magazine, Sarrazin insulted Turks and Arabs living in Berlin, and claimed that Turks would try to outnumber Germans with high birth rate.

On the other hand, a research made by Prof. Wolf Dietrich Bukow from Cologne University, showed that the ratio of social adjustment of Turks living in Germany was very high.

9 Turkish players in Bundesliga

There are 248 foreign players including nine Turks among a total of 505 players in German soccer league Bundesliga.

Eren Derdiyok, a Swiss international player of Turkish descent, signed a deal with German Bayer 04 Leverkusen for five million Euro. He became one of the ten most expensive players transferred to Bundesliga.

Mesut Ozil of Werder Bremen, who decided to play for German national team, also became a favorite while FC Koln's captain Umit Ozat had to quit soccer due to heart problems, and started to train the team.

Last Mod: 02 Ocak 2010, 00:20
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