Sunday

24th Jul 2016

Erdogan and Merkel spar ahead of Turkey visit

The integration of the three million Turkish nationals in Germany has once again emerged as a source of discord between Berlin and Ankara ahead of German Chancellor Angela Merkel's visit to Turkey today (29 March).

Due for her first visit to the country in four years, Ms Merkel and her Anatolian counterpart have engaged in a familiar exchange of barbs concerning the role of Turkish citizens in German society.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

  • Ms Merkel and Mr Erdogan have clashed over how best to integrate Turks living in Germany before (Photo: REGIERUNGonline)

Ahead of the trip, Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that secondary schools for the children of Turkish immigrants should be set up while Germany should also allow dual citizenship.

Ms Merkel responded via her weekly video message with a clear refusal of the demands. She said that integration into German society does not mean "assimilation" or "giving up the home country." Migrants should share in a successful society through work and family life.

She added: "That of course means learning the German language and abiding by German laws."

The exchange - a similar one was held in 2008 around the time Mr Erdogan was visiting Berlin - comes against the backdrop of Turkey's bid for EU membership.

Germany is opposed to Ankara's full membership of the EU. Turkey, which formally opened the by now painfully slow EU membership negotiations in 2005, has responded by becoming increasingly assertive in its own backyard, including loudly criticising Israel's activities.

Among the topics likely to be brought up include possible sanctions against Iran for its nuclear programme. While Ms Merkel favours sanctions, Mr Erdorgan, whose country currently is sitting in the UN Security Council as a non-permanent member, is against further sanctions, arguing instead for a diplomatic solution.

Meanwhile, Spiegel Online reports that Ms Merkel wants to raise the issue of Armenia and the ongoing dispute over whether mass killings of Armenians during the First World War amounted to genocide. Turkey says that the 1915 massacre of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire was does not warrant the moniker, something Mr Erdogan repeated in the latest edition of German news weekly Der Spiegel.

While political tensions between the two countries are running high, they remain closely linked on the business front. Turkey remains one of the most important export markets for the German economy. This has meant that leading business organisations in Germany have approached the whole question of Turkish EU membership with a more conciliatory and pragmatic tone than can be heard at the political level.

Investigation

ECB in ‘bail-out’ of scandal-tainted VW

The ECB has started to “bail out” Germany’s Volkswagen Group by buying its corporate bonds, but other EU-linked banks continue to shun the scandal-tainted firm.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Belgrade Security ForumMigration, Security and Solidarity within Global Disorder: Academic Event Agenda for 2016
  2. GoogleHow Google Fights Piracy: Creating Value While Fighting Piracy
  3. EJC"My Visit to Israel" - Opinion by MEP Lopez Aguilar, Chair of the EP Working Group on Antisemitism
  4. World VisionChildren Migrating, Out of School and at Work as Hunger Deepens in Southern Africa
  5. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceStand-Up (and Exercise) to Prevent Chronic Diseases
  6. Centre Maurits CoppietersLaunches a Real-time News Hub Specialised in EU Stakeholders
  7. Dialogue PlatformFethullah Gulen Calls for International Probe Into Turkey Coup Allegations
  8. GoogleEU-US Privacy Shield: Restoring Faith in Data Flows and Transatlantic Relations
  9. World VisionWorld Leaders & Youth Advocates Launch Partnership to End Violence Vs. Children
  10. Counter BalanceReport: Institutionalised Corruption in Romania's Third Largest Company
  11. Access NowEuropol Supports Encryption. We Can Relax Now… Right?
  12. GoogleLearn about Google's projects across Europe on Twitter @GoogleBrussels

Latest News

  1. Munich attack might not have been terrorism
  2. A very British (and Corbynite) coup
  3. Poland 'changing for the worse' for Muslims and refugees
  4. EU aims to lift visas on Turks despite purge
  5. ECB in ‘bail-out’ of scandal-tainted VW
  6. EU failed to learn lesson from Brexit, Poland says
  7. UK accord on EU workers 'crucial', France says
  8. EU and US take different lines on Turkey crackdown