The Turkish community in the German state of Hessen expressed anger Thursday over a proposed bill that would leave Turkish lessons out of the school curriculum while offering Polish, Chinese, Portuguese and Arabic as a second language option, saying that the bill harms the ‘emotional ties’ of nearly 400,000 Turks living in Hessen.
The Hessen State Turkish Associations Initiative Platform released an open letter slamming the proposal, saying “it is unacceptable to ignore the Turkish language and Turkish society in the curriculum” despite the state’s large Turkish population.
The platform said in the letter – which was addressed to the speaker of the Hessen State Parliament, Hessen state prime minister and all parties in parliament – that they were “deeply saddened” by the fact that Turkish is not included in the foreign language options in the curriculum.
Calling the move “humiliating,” it added that the proposal harms the “emotional ties” of the nearly 400,000 Turks living in Hessen while also “inflicting deep wounds” on them.
“The exclusion of Turks, the largest immigrant group in Hesse, under the pretext of a ‘cohesion policy’ is unacceptable,” it added.
The letter called on German authorities to “correct this mistake as soon as possible.”
Germany is home to 81 million people and the second-largest Muslim population in Western Europe after France. Of the country’s nearly 4.7 million Muslims, at least 3 million are of Turkish descent.
The Turkish community in Europe is concerned with the rising trend of Islamophobia and Turkophobia in Western countries, calling on European states to escalate measures against hate crimes.
Racist attacks targeting Muslims and immigrants increasingly make headlines as white supremacists become more efficient in an age where their ideals, or at least parts of them, are going mainstream. There is no single large group orchestrating these attacks against Muslims and immigrants. Rather, individual attacks lead to more attacks by copycats. The tolerant political climate under the pretext of freedom of speech has helped far-right sympathizers with violent tendencies expand their support.
Turkish officials, including President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, have frequently urged European decision-makers and politicians to take a stance against racism and other types of discrimination that have threatened the lives of millions of people living within the bloc’s borders.