Through their democratic movement, the people of the GDR achieved the seemingly impossible. In 1989 they proved that a determined stand for freedom can move mountains. Today I would like to express my deep gratitude towards and respect for these people, without whose courage German unity would not have been possible.
Unity has given Germany tremendous opportunities, opportunities that we have seized in the past 20 years. People from both East and West have shown commitment, worked hard and made a great contribution, creating for our reunified country a strong shared foundation that is economically sound and at the same time fosters social cohesion.
Our Turkish community has also had a hand in these remarkable rebuilding efforts. Their entrepreneurial spirit has grown even stronger since reunification, bringing our country many jobs and opportunities for growth. For this too I wish to express my thanks.
The unification of Germany 20 years ago today also foreshadowed the integration of Europe. A once-divided continent has given way to a European Union with 27 member states. A Europe of confrontation has become a Europe of cooperation. I am counting on Turkey setting a course for Europe in future, too.