The Kronen Zeitung Heats Up Integration Debates

News Brief: Apr. 2011

On March 11 the Viennese daily Kronen Zeitung, published a two-year-old picture of Green Party Parliamentarian Alev Korun in a dirndl, a traditional Austrian dress. In the text, columnist Peter Gnam suggested that Korun, a native Turk, was mocking Austria traditions simply by the wearing of it.

Gnam reported that an Austrian Parliamentarian delegation had visited Ankara to discuss the Austrian approach towards its sizable Turkish population. A heated debate evolved on wether Turks should be obliged to take German language classes. ÖVP chief parliamentarian Karl-Heinz Kopf is quoted as having been told that “Turks always remain Turks.”

Green Party critics accused Gnam of putting Turks in a no-win situation – if they don’t try to integrate they are criticised, and if they succeed, as Parliamentarian Korun has done so thoroughly, they are made fun of. Korun complained that the Krone had brought ethnicizing to a whole new level.

“Everything that a Turk says, whereever he is, is played against the resident Turkish community, even making family members and others accountable, as in Sippenhaftung, a practice we believed had long-since been abandoned.“

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