Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan will hold a meeting with Turkish community in Cologne right before his state visit to Germany and a German politician might join him as part of the thawing relations between former allies, confirmed a government source who has a knowledge about the organization but prefers to stay anonymous because of the sensitivity of the matter.
“The meeting most likely to take place in Cologne. The details are still being worked on. A German politician might join him which would send out a great embracing message to Turkish community of 3 million,” said the source to Diaspora Daily. President Erdogan will pay a much anticipated state visit to Germany on September 28-29. The visit is considered a climax of recent rapprochement between Germany and Turkey when the two countries are under American pressure both politically and financially.
Tens of thousands of Turks are expected to flock to Cologne from all over Europe to listen to what messages Erdogan might give. Since the long time leader of Turkey has always been very popular among Turkish diaspora in Europe and his words are taken into account without hesitation, what he will be saying will be closely watched by the German government as well.
“Erdogan always wants us to contribute to the societies we live in. He wants us to speak their language. He wants us integrate into the societies but opposes assimilation which we also agree,” said Bulent Bilgi, head of Union of International Democrats, the biggest Turkish-founded NGO in Europe. Bilgi reiterates that Erdogan has always given positive messages on integration and it would be a positive contribution to allow Erdogan to speak in order to provide a solution to Germany’s five decade old integration failure. “Germans want to assimilate Turks but we wont be accepted even if we get assimilated. They (Germans) want to uproot us from our culture, language and religion,” said Serkan Alkan, one of the lawyers of infamous NSU trial. Alkan was born and raised in Germany and his wife wears headscarf. “I was born in Germany so was my father so are my kids, but I am still asked where are you from when I meet people,” says Alkan. “When I told them I am from Bonn, then they continue where are you originally from,” he continued.
When Erdogan held a rally back in 2011 in the German city of Dusseldorf, he said assimilation is a crime against humanity. His words echoed extremely negative in the German government circles. Germany did not allow Erdogan to attend a rally in Cologne last year via video-conference which angered the 3 million-strong Turkish community. However, Germany authorities gave permission to speak to a senior figure of PKK, a designated terror group by Germany.
Terrorist PKK affiliated groups have also been planning to protest Erdogan’s visit. “Both far left groups and PKK supporters have been making calls on social media to organize a big protest when Erdogan comes,” said Bilgi. He pointed out that it is a state visit and German security forces bear the responsibility to protect the visiting side.
German government has taken a somewhat harsh stance on PKK-affiliated groups in recent months. Police interfered a rally in Cologne early this year when the participants put out the banners of terrorist PKK. Considering the recent rapprochement between Berlin and Ankara, reaction of police might be much more surprising to PKK supporters this time around.