German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier has declared Germany “is a nation of immigrants and will remain so”, asserting: “There are no half or whole Germans, no biological or ‘new’ Germans”.
Speaking at Berlin’s Bellevue Palace, where a small group of people with Turkish heritage had been invited to share their views on immigration, integration, and xenophobia in Europe, the German president strongly denounced “exclusion of and discrimination against people with foreign roots”.
“A permanent suspicion of immigrants, no matter how long they have lived in Germany, is not only harmful for the individuals involved but it is a cause of shame for our country,” said President Steinmeier — who serves as a largely symbolic head of state, while Chancellor Angela Merkel is head of government.
“Racism and discrimination violate human dignity and damage our democracy,” he continued, claiming: “Immigration has taken place because we have repeatedly asked people to come — a situation which will continue to be true in the future.”
Highlighting #MeTwo, a movement “against everyday racism” sparked by Mesut Özil’s resignation from international football citing “racism and disrespect”, Steinmeier said the lived experiences of Turkish migrants “belong to Germany”.
“Without them, without their families who joined them later, without their children and grandchildren, our country’s economic prosperity, indeed today’s society, would be inconceivable,” he claimed.
“No one should have to deny their roots,” he stressed, adding he wished “for a Germany in which we can win together and lose together” in a nod to Özil — an ethnic Turk whose resignation came after he was criticised for his performance in the World Cup, and for being photographed with Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan in May.
As well as sparking a national debate over identity, the 29-year-old footballer’s stunt caught the eye of globalist international media outlets, which took the opportunity to lambast a Germany in which “some … are trying to return to a monolithic understanding of German identity and culture once believed to be a thing of the past”.
Telling guests of his regret at hearing people with migration backgrounds report incidents which they claimed made them feel they don’t belong in the country, Steinmeier claimed prejudice undermines “all the things we have done together as a country”.
“There are no Germans who are ‘on probation’ and having to earn their rights in society again and again because their [citizenship] could be revoked on the basis of alleged misconduct,” the president said, insisting that there are “no half or whole, no biological or ‘new’ Germans; there are no first- or second-class citizens, no right or wrong neighbours”.