German president to address Turkish parliament amid integration row
German President Christian Wulff, in Turkey for a five-day official visit, is scheduled to address parliament on Tuesday, the first time a German president has addressed the body, dpa reported.
The visit of Wulff, whose role is largely ceremonial, comes amid a fierce debate in Germany over the integration of the country's estimated 4 million Muslims, most of whom are of Turkish origin.
Chancellor Angela Merkel recently proclaimed that multiculturalism had "utterly failed" in Germany, and urged immigrants to work harder to learn German and integrate.
In an interview with the Turkish daily Hurriyet that was published on Tuesday, Wulff suggested that immigrants must learn German in order to integrate successfully.
"Only that can open all the doors to the education system," he told the paper.
However he rejected calls for a halt to Muslim integration, as stated by Bavaria's conservative premier Horst Seehofer.
"I think it is wrong to claim that a whole group is unable and unwilling to integrate," Wulff told the paper.
Earlier Tuesday, the German president visited the Ankara mausoleum of Mustapha Kemal Ataturk, modern Turkey's secularizing founder.
During his visit, Wulff is also expected to address a Turkish- German business forum in Kayseri, a commercial hub in central Turkey, and attend a religious service in the ancient Church of St Paul in the historical Mediterranean city of Tarsus.
In Istanbul, he will take part in the groundbreaking of a new German-Turkish university.
Earlier this month, Wulff sought to assuage Germany's integration debate by stating that, alongside Christianity and Judaism, "Islam also belongs in Germany."