Eleven parliamentarians of Turkish origin have been elected to the Bundestag, Germany's lower house of Parliament, following the general elections held on 22 September in which Chancellor Angela Merkel registered a historic victory and was only short by a few votes from securing an overall majority for the first time in decades. The election was also notable because for the first time Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU) parliamentary group also includes a person of Turkish and Muslim origin. The Turkish newspaper Hurriyet Daily News said that "Cemile Giousouf, one of the 11 elected, not only completed a successful journey into the Parliament, but also achieved a historic milestone as she became the first ever Turkish and Muslim candidate to have emerged from Merkel's conservatives."
Commonspace.eu political editor said in a comment:
"The Turkish community in Germany is often characterised as being backward and isolated from the rest of German society. Whilst this is certainly not true economically, it is now clear that it is not true politically either. The Turkish community is playing an important role in German political life and has started making an impact. What is interesting is that the eleven members of parliament elected now represent a wide cross section of political opinion, including the two major political parties the CDU/CSU and the social democratic SPD, who now have five MPs from the Turkish community. Other MPs elected represent the Greens and the left wing Die Linke, with three and two MPs of Turkish origin respectively. This development helps much to dispel criticism that the Turkish community in Germany is marginalised. These eleven MPs now have a chance to work both within their respective political parties as well as nation-wide not only for their community but for the whole German nation.
Despite isolated incidents that should not be ignored, Europe is not a xenophobic society. Most European countries are multi-ethnic and multi-faith and Europe continues to find ways in which it turns its diversity into strength."
Photo: The German Bundestag in Berlin (archive picture).