By Gerhard Schroder, Former Chancellor Of Germany d-english/world-news/2010/03/31/former-chancellor- gerhard-schroeder/there-should-be-more-turkish-sch ools-in-germany.html
March 31 2010

Former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder has written in BILD why
he believes there should be more Turkish schools in Germany.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has put forward a good
proposal. We need more German-Turkish schools in our country, because
they not only help with integration but make Germany a little bit
more international.

Unfortunately, because of some thoughtless words from German
politicians before Chancellor Angela Merkel's trip to Turkey, the
relationship between our two countries has been badly strained.

Both sides must talk realistically and above all together about the
subject of EU entry, instead of about each other.

It is good that the Chancellor is now talking positively about more
German-Turkish schools and obviously perceives the term 'privileged
partnership' as unfortunate. This term should disappear from the
political debate.

There are hundreds of German schools not only in Turkey but
worldwide, schools with German lessons at which German life can also
be experienced.

In Germany there are French, English, Greek and many other
international schools. So why not more Turkish schools as well?

Besides, in the future more teachers of Turkish origin who were
trained at German universities will be employed at German schools.

This would also be an important contribution to integration.

We should neither hold nor stir up any fear. It is a given that our
children - including those with an immigrant background - should
master the German language.

If they don't, then we must ask whether the problem lies in the German
school system.

German-Turkish schools could help to overcome these problems. And
it is a good thing if children can speak both German and Turkish
perfectly because Turkey is politically, culturally and economically
an important partner for us.

Turkey is already among the 20 biggest economies in the world; it
is far stronger for instance than EU members like Sweden, Poland or
Belgium. And economic growth in Turkey is rapid. We Germans must use
this chance.

Therefore I am an advocate of European Union membership for Turkey.

The country has gone on a brave path of reform under the leadership
of Prime Minister Erdogan.

The steps which have been taken have a historical character, concerning
a fundamental democratisation, Kurdish politics and the communication
process with Armenia.

Germany and the EU would be well advised to support Turkey because we
can see that the pro-European faction in the country faces significant

A nationalist policy in Turkey would, however, be fatal. It would
isolate and set back the country. It would also endanger our security
in Europe as a consequence.

Therefore it is vital for the EU and its member states to support
the entry process. That is also true for the German government.

Bilingual schools and universities both in Turkey and Germany can
help to strengthen the former's ties to Europe, build bridges between
the two countries and promote integration. And that would help the
internationalisation of Germany.