Cem Özdemir

Germany's Great Green Hope

Cem_Oezdemir_dpa_Maurizio Gambarini
Cem Özdemir was one of the first German-Turkish politicians to enter parliament.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    The Green Party already has a large presence in Geramny’s parliament and could become a coalition partner after elections next year.

  • Facts

    Facts

    • The Green Party currently holds 10 percent of seats in the Bundestag.
    • Mr. Özdemir grew up in the black Forest in southwestern Germany.
    • He is under police protection after criticizing the Turkish government and backing Germany’s recognition of the Armenian genocide.
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    Audio

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For his summer tour Cem Özdemir has adopted an ironic nickname – Cemtrail, a play on the conspiracy theory that aircraft disperse chemicals for nefarious purposes such as mind control.

Co-chair of Germany’s Green Party, which has 10 percent of seats in the national parliament, Mr. Özdemir is used to being viewed with suspicion – not least by his own party.

A German politician of Turkish heritage, newspapers at home and abroad regularly demand that Mr. Özdemir account for what’s wrong with the country of his parents’ birth – or make the principles of democracy properly understood to the Turkish people.

But recent events have allowed Mr. Özdemir to capitalize on his perceived ability to speak for both sides – and finally find his voice in German politics.

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