Who is the capital of the Curia

New Turkish Consul General : "Cologne is the capital of the Turks in Western Europe"

Kaya, who lived with his parents in Stuttgart until he was 15, speaks German with a slight Swabian accent. He graduated from high school in Istanbul and then studied economics and international relations. He worked for four years in the Turkish embassy in Beijing and four years in the Turkish embassy in Berlin.

"Cologne is the capital of the Turks in Western Europe"

He is particularly pleased to be in Cologne now, he says: "Cologne is, so to speak, the capital of the Turks in Western Europe - it is not for nothing that many of the most important Turkish and Muslim organizations have their headquarters in Cologne." His wife, with Kaya, two children is consul general in Hanover. The two have a long-distance relationship.

When Kaya speaks of the importance of clubs for integration, he doesn't just mean sports clubs, but also mosque clubs such as Ditib, the Turkish-Islamic Union of the Institute for Religion, which is subordinate to the Turkish religious authority Diyanet. The Ditib receives money, instructions and imams from Ankara. In some federal states, the association has organized Islamic lessons in schools, for a long time the Ditib was considered an important cooperation partner of the German state - meanwhile, the organization is seen by many as the vicarious agent of the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution has been looking into monitoring the Ditib for some time.

Experienced diplomat

Kaya would rather emphasize the “strengths of the associations for the Turkish community”: “Like many other mosque and cultural associations, the Ditib is important for the Turks in Germany in order to maintain a connection to their home country and to feel comfortable here,” says he.

Born in 1979, Kaya is an accomplished diplomat. “My goal is to emphasize similarities, not contradictions, and to have conversations. It's always about dialogue - and with the many connections, similarities and similar interests of Germany and Turkey, the only goal can be that we cultivate and promote our relationships. "The aim of his work as Consul General is," the social and economic To strengthen the status of people with Turkish roots in the region. It is about experienced social or professional disadvantage, but also, crucially, about education. "

Plea for more bilingual teaching

In the group of 20 to 34-year-olds, 37 percent of people of Turkish origin are without training. “This is where we have to start.” Another important concern of Kaya is the strengthening of bilingual teaching. “Bilingualism is often seen as a deficiency. I think it is important to promote bilingualism in schools - this helps adolescents and, as a result, society as well, which can benefit even more from language skills. "

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How it is with human rights in Turkey; whether people critical of the government can still travel from Germany to Turkey without fear of being arrested; Turhan Kaya does not want to comment on why German citizens are repeatedly arrested in Turkey for alleged terrorist propaganda because of ongoing legal proceedings during his exchange with the “Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger”.

On the way to normalization?

People who are worried about being arrested in Turkey could of course also turn to the consulate and ask for advice, he says. And: “I think that relations between Germany and Turkey are on the way to normalization, even if things are going slowly. This applies to foreign policy, but also to the dialogue with, for example, the Ditib. I hope that things will continue in this direction - and that we will continue to have a good conversation. "

It is not yet clear when the Hürth consulate will move to the area on Stolberger Straße, which the Turkish state bought back in 2013. But there, too, according to Kaya, progress is going “slowly but steadily”.