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'Turks in Germany must learn to speak the language'

October 19, 2010 10:23

German President Wulff makes comments to Turkish newspaper as he begins 5 day visit to the country amid German integration concerns.

German President Christian Wulff

German President Christian Wulff. (photo credit:ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Turks living in Germany must learn to speak German, German President Christian Wulff said Tuesday.

Wulff made the comments to Hurriyet newspaper Tuesday as he began a five-day visit to Turkey amid a growing debate in Germany over the integration of millions of foreigners.

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"We cannot close our eyes to the fact that immigration to Germany has brought with it a number of problems. The basis for a solution to many of the problems is tied to learning German," said Wulff.

Germany has for decades been home to a large Turkish community. Wulff will meet Turkey's leaders and become the first German president to address Turkey's parliament.

On Saturday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel told young members of her Christian Democrats party that Germany's attempt at multiculturalism had failed.

Merkel said that, "This [multicultural] approach has failed, utterly failed," Reuters reported.

The German Chancellor went on to describe how too little had been required of immigrants in Germany, and that they should learn German so they can better succeed in school and in the labor market.

Jewish and Hindu representatives issued a statement Tuesday urging Merkel to show more tolerance to immigrants and not to stigmatize them.

In a statement made in Nevada, Hindu statesman Rajan Zed and Rabbi Jonathan B. Freirich said that "instead of blaming multiculturalism as a failure, Merkel and other German leaders should make more efforts to create a society where all Germans could learn to live together in peace and mutual trust despite seriously different traditions, beliefs and backgrounds."
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