Turks in Germany feel Merkel does not speak for them

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

Turks in Germany feel Merkel does not speak for them
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 per cent of Turks rejected that claim, with the figure rising to 85 per cent 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 per cent of Turks felt unwanted in Germany and 44 per cent were opposed to intermarriage with Germans.

In line with a call from Erdogan for Turks not to abandon their identity, 92 per cent 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 "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.

Agencies

Last Mod: 13 Mart 2008, 16:00
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