Germany ’s new Green party new leader Özdemir says schools should teach Turkish language

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at
Mon Jan 26 17:02:59 UTC 2009

Özdemir says schools should teach Turkish language

Published: 24 Nov 08 08:32 CET

Germany's new Green party new leader Cem Özdemir has said that schools
should offer more Turkish language lessons, daily Bild reported on

"German must always be the most important language for children that
live and grow up here," Özdemir told the paper. "But we also need to
make sure that children with immigration background can develop their
multilingualism. Why not offer more Turkish in addition to English,
French, Spanish and Russian?"

Özdemir, the first person of Turkish origin to head a major political
party in Germany, told the paper he hoped a Muslim would soon hold an
important office. "I hope that our society will become colour blind,
so that what someone believes is insignificant," he said. "What needs
to be decided is how good, qualified and persuasive a politician is."

The environmentalist Green party elected Özdemir last weekend as one
of its two leaders with almost 80 percent of the vote. Claudia Roth,
who already occupies the other post traditionally split along gender
lines, was voted back in with more than 82 percent of the vote.

Özdemir, 42, was born to Turkish immigrants in the southwest of
Germany and took German nationality in 1992. In 1994 he became the
first politician of Turkish origin to be elected to the German
parliament, the Bundestag, where he served until 2002.

He was chosen to replace Reinhard Bütikofer, who retires after six
years at the head of the party as co-leader, at the party's annual
congress in Erfurt in eastern Germany.

The Greens, who hold 51 of the Bundestag's 612 seats, were coalition
partners with the Social Democrats between 1998 and 2005 but are now
the smallest opposition party.

The Local (news at

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