Nobody likes Erdoğan's proposal for Turkish high schools in Germany

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Well, almost nobody. Angela Merkel will be in Turkey for a visit on Monday, and the subject of high schools in Germany conducted in Turkish has come up as Erdoğan is a supporter of the idea. Not surprisingly Merkel is not a fan of the idea, and neither are any Turkish-German parliamentarians. Here's just a bit from the article from CNN Türk:

Two years ago Erdoğan made a strongly-voiced proposal for schools in Köln/Cologne where students are taught in Turkish for the Turkish minority...Wolfgang Bosbach from Merkel's Christian Democrat Party said that the proposal would not be helpful for the integration of the Turkish minority in Germany.

Merkel said in a statement to "Passauer Neue Presse" that "I don't see this proposal as one that will take us forward, because as a rule children and youth of Turkish descent in Germany need to go to German schools. I'm not fond of the idea of Turkish children here going to Turkish schools."

FDP Bundestag member Serkan Tören also said that "I'm doubtful of Erdoğan's idea to provide this service to Turks in Germany", and "In contrast, what is needed is work to give children in families speaking Turkish the chance for education in German as soon as possible."

SPD Bundestag member Aydan Özoğuz also said that "Calling for the opening of special Turkish schools is legal, but these schools will not solve the problem of adapting to the country". Green Bundestag member Ekin Deligöz said that "I don't believe that Turkish schools will encourage language learning, and those of Turkish descent that come here during their high school years don't have a problem with the (Turkish) language anyway."

The president of the TGD (Türkische Gemeinde in Deutschland / Turkish Community in Germany) Kenan Kolat also said in a statement to the newspaper "Die Welt" that "If Erdoğan with this proposal means these high schools would be taught entirely in Turkish, we see that as a big mistake." He said that the Turkish community also did not agree with Erdoğan's view that Turkish children needed to learn their own language well before learning German.
I'm in agreement with them as well, as integration is especially important when immigrating to a country so far away. With countries bordering each other the situation is quite different, as often current borders don't reflect long-held linguistic tradition. The US and Mexico, Iran and Azerbaijan, Italy and Austria etc. have linguistic minorities that have historically not been a part of the country, but Germany's too far away for this to apply.

Besides, Turkish is not that hard a language to maintain for those that have at least some experience with it. Spelling is easy, exceptions are few. It's also far easier from an economic point of view for a person living in Germany to go to Turkey for a few months to study than the other way around.

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