Wulff meets with civil society leaders

Published 21.10.2010 10:01

German President Wulff, on an official visit to Turkey amidst a heated debate over the integration of Germany's immigrant communities into German society, convened with representatives of some of Turkey's major civil society organizations over breakfast.

Osman Güner from the Anatolian Culture Association, Ayhan Bilgen from the Civil Society Development Center, Halime Güner from the Flying Broom, Human Rights Joint Platform (İHOP) General Coordinator Feray Salman and Alevi-Bektaşi Federation President Ali Balkız exchanged opinions with the German president during a one-and-a-half-hour-long meeting.

Wulff mainly listened to the participants, taking frequent notes during the meeting, which mainly revolved around the topic of Turkey's democratization process.

The president was particularly interested in the mandatory courses on religion at the primary and high school levels as well as problems faced by Alevis on this issue. He was also curious about how an Alevi dede (religious leader) is trained.

In the meantime, Turkey's first lady, Hayrünnisa Gül, accompanied Bettina Wulff, the wife of the German president, on a tour of Kayseri's historic sites. The two women first visited the Bürüngüz Mosque before heading to the ages-old covered market. The two women briefly spoke with tradesmen in the bazaar while shopping.

One tradesman presented a shawl and a piece of traditional muslin to each woman. Another vendor in the market offered Gül and Wulff some Turkish delight. They later visited a nursing home and spoke with the elderly residents living there.

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