Germany says to further friendship with Turkey amid immigration debate

08:36, October 20, 2010      

Email | Print | Subscribe | Comments | Forum 

German President Christian Wulff said Tuesday his country wants to build closer friendship with Turkey while defending his recent remarks on Muslim immigrants that sparked criticism in Germany.

Germany and Turkey are eager to further boost their existing friendly relations, Wulff told a joint press conference with Turkish President Abdullah Gul here.

Commenting on his earlier statement that "I am also the president of Muslims in Germany," Wulff said "we should accept diversity." His words came as a debate on immigration in Germany heated up after German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Germany's attempt to create a multi-cultural society had failed.

Germany is home to about 4 million Muslims, among whom 2.5 million are Turks.

Besides, Wulff said Germany and Turkey will lay the foundation for a new Turkish-German university in the Turkish city of Istanbul and sign a partnership agreement between German state of Hessen and Turkish province of Bursa.

Talking about Turkey's accession talks with the European Union (EU), he said "there are details to be discussed in terms of timing but in general, it is Turkey's right that the negotiations should take place fairly."

Turkey became an EU candidate country in December 1999 and launched accession talks with the EU in October 2005, but has only opened 13 chapters out of the 35 necessary to be negotiated before entering EU.

Merkel has argued Turkey should be granted a "privileged partnership" with the EU instead of full membership.

Gul, for his part, welcomed Wulff's remarks on Muslims living in Germany, saying the integration of Turks into German society should not be used as a political tool.

"We have our own Christian, Jewish citizens (in Turkey). And I am their president, too. They are our citizens and there can't be any discrimination between us," he said.

Gul called for more efforts to find a solution to the issue, suggesting immigrants be encouraged to better learn local language.

Wulff, the first German president to visit Turkey for the last decade, arrived here on Monday for a four-day tour.

Source: Xinhua

(Editor:赵晨雁)

  • Do you have anything to say?

双语词典
dictionary

  
Special Coverage
  • Premier Wen Jiabao visits Hungary, Britain, Germany
  • From drought to floods
Major headlines
Editor's Pick
  • Chinese Navy soldiers hold an evening party marking the upcoming 62nd National Day aboard Chinese Navy hospital ship "Peace Ark" in the Pacific on Sept. 28, 2011. The Chinese National Day falls on Oct. 1. (Xinhua/Zha Chunming)
  • Photo taken on Sept. 30, 2011 shows the crowd at the plaza of Beijing Railway Station in Beijing, capital of China. The railway transportation witnessed a travel peak with the approach of the seven-day National Day holidays on Friday. (Xinhua)
  • A man wearing high-heel shoes takes part in the 3rd annual Walk a Mile in Her Shoes, an event when men literally walk in women's shoes to raise awareness about ending violence against women, at Yonge-Dundas Square in Toronto, Canada, Sept. 29, 2011. (Xinhua/Zou Zheng)
  • Photo taken on Sept. 29, 2011 shows a cargo ship in danger on the sea near Zhuhai City, south China's Guangdong Province. Cargo ship Fangzhou 6 of Qingzhou of southwest China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region lost control after water stormed into its cabin due to Typhoon Nesat on the sea near Zhuhai Thursday, leaving 12 crew members in danger. Rescuers rushed to the ship and saved them by using a helicopter. (Xinhua)
  • Actress Gong Li poses for L'Officiel Magazine. (Xinhua Photo)
  • Demonstrators from the Occupy Wall Street campaign hold placards as they march in the financial district of New York September 29, 2011. After hundreds of protesters were denied access to some areas outside the New York Stock Exchange on September 17, demonstrators set up a rag-tag camp three blocks away. Zuccotti Park is a campground festooned with placards and anti-Wall Street slogans. The group is adding complaints of excessive police force against protesters and police treatment of ethnic minorities and Muslims to its grievances list, which includes bank bailouts, foreclosures and high unemployment. (Xinhua/Reuters Photo)
Hot Forum Discussion