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Merkel, Erdogan open world's largest computer fair in Hanover

posted 28 Feb 2011, 12:55 by Sam Mbale   [ updated 28 Feb 2011, 12:57 ]

German Chancellor Merkel reiterates her demand that people who want to be successful in Germany must speak the language perfectly while Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan raises Turkey's bid to join the European Union as they open the world's largest computer fair, CeBit in Hanover.

HANOVER, GERMANY (FEBRUARY 28, 2011) REUTERS - In order to be successful in Germany, people must be able to speak the language perfectly, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said ahead of a meeting with Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan in Hanover on Monday (February 28).

"The integration of Turkish-origin migrants in Germany has a very special meaning for us. I will talk to him (Erdogan) what progress has been made and which problems remain to be solved. To me, the focus here is to learn the German language," Merkel said.

She was speaking on the sidelines of the annual computer fair CeBit which this year is hosted by Turkey.

Erodgan, who is visiting Germany, on Sunday told some 10,000 members of the country's large Turkish community their children should learn Turkish before they learn German.

Erdogan's visit comes in the wake of a heated debate over the place of foreigners in Germany, sparked last year after central banker Thilo Sarrazin published a best-selling book that argued German culture was at risk from Muslims.

In his speech at the official CeBit opening ceremony, Erdogan once more raised Turkey's bid to join the European Union.

"Germany grew together with Turkey and so Germany will best know and be able to judge how much Turkey will contribute towards the European Union," Erdogan said.

He named several Latin American countries such as Brazil "which have nothing to do with the European Union," yet "all these countries enjoy visa-free travel."

"Turkey has a customs union with the European Union. Turkey is in negotiations with the European Union for full membership and still, Turkey has to bear the burden of visas."

Merkel, who spoke after Erdogan replied to laughter that "the visa problems we need to address again. I just told (IBM's CEO Samuel) Palmisano that if the passports get too big with all the stamps inside, we now have (computer) chips. I am sure they can hold a few more entries."

The world's largest computer fair opens to the public on March 1 and closes its doors on Saturday, March 5.

According to Merkel, more than 4,200 exhibitors from 70 countries are represented this year.