Merkel: 'Young Turkish immigrants are part of our society'

The German chancellor says the newly recognized right to dual-citizenship for Germany-born Turks is a clear message: "We want these young people. They are part of our society."

Merkel: 'Young Turkish immigrants are part of our society'

World Bulletin / News Desk

German Chancellor Angela Merkel hailed the hard-fought coalition agreement with the Social Democrats and underlined that their openness for a compromise on dual-citizenship right is a clear message for young Turkish immigrants.

"We want these young people. They are part of our society," Merkel said on Wednesday, during a joint press conference with the leaders of her Christian Democratic Union’s (CDU) sister party Christian Social Union (CSU) and the coalition partner Social Democratic Party (SPD).

Merkel said that the discussions on the dual-citizenship had been one of the most contentious issues during the coalition talks. She thanked her coalition partners for the compromise on the issue.

SPD's leader Sigmar Gabriel told journalists that the agreement has been a compromise and bearing in mind the strong opposition of the conservatives in the past, this could well be seen as an important progress.

"It would have been unwise to reject this compromise," Gabriel said during the joint press conference.

"We have broken a taboo," he stressed. "Our friends in the CDU and in the CSU have also showed courage and readiness towards compromise although this had been contrary to their position. I am sure that the steps will continue."

Dual-citizenship right had been a key election promise of the SPD, which traditionally has a broad support among the immigrants in Germany.

The Social Democrats had identified the issue of dual-citizenship as one of the red lines of the party, ahead of the talks. But the compromise agreement has not met the strong expectations of the immigrants, as it has not introduced a right of dual citizenship for all the immigrants living in the country, rather allowed it only for those generations who were born in Germany.

According to the Germany’s citizenship law, anyone who is eligible for German citizenship has to give up his or her former citizenship, in order to acquire German citizenship. The law recognizes only a few exceptional cases.

Children who are born in Germany automatically get German citizenship. But according to the controversial regulation of so called "option model", immigrants' children have to choose between their original citizenship or German citizenship by age 23.

The CDU and CSU had long opposed the dual citizenship right of the children of the immigrants, fearing it would undermine their loyalty to Germany and integration efforts. Wednesday’s compromise agreement foresees the abolishing of the option model.

Last Mod: 28 Kasım 2013, 10:28
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