The Turkish Community in Germany has criticized the impending changing of the name of Germany's Interior Ministry. The group's leader has said that the term "homeland" would exclude people of foreign extraction.
The chair of the Turkish Community in Germany (Türkische Gemeinde in Deutschland) foundation, Gökay Sofuoglu, criticized the planned decision to rename the Ministry of the Interior to the Ministry of the Interior, Construction and Homeland. He told the daily Berliner Zeitung that "focusing on the term 'homeland' is the wrong emphasis at the wrong time."
Gökay Sofuoglu believes that the idea of a "homeland" excludes millions of other people with foreign backgrounds
He said the move was problematic because the term "homeland" describes a "different space of experience and emotion from one person to the next."
"We're worried, that this term will not promote solidarity and togetherness but rather exclusion and division," Sofuoglu added.
He stressed that rather than emphasizing traditional values pertaining to the term "homeland," Germany should foster an inclusive understanding of a pluralistic society, with the Basic Law, Germany's constitution, serving as the common basis of values.
'Homeland not necessarily a divisive term'
Sofuoglu's comments drew criticism from Ina Scharrenbach, a conservative politician who occupies the role of Homeland Minister in the most populous German state, North Rhine-Westphalia.
Scharrenbach said the term "homeland" was not mean to exclude but rather include people:
"Homeland means everyone, including those who migrated here, and is not meant to exclude anyone," she told the Berliner Zeitung. In Germany's federal political system, each can decide how it divides up various governmental departments and how it chooses to name them; not all states have a "Homeland Ministry."
Following weeks of coalition
ss/sms (epd, KNA)