Cem Özdemir

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Cem Özdemir
Cem Özdemir-001.JPG
Cem Özdemir (2013)
Personal details
Born (1965-12-21) 21 December 1965 (age 48)
Bad Urach, West Germany
Political party Alliance '90/The Greens

Cem Özdemir (born 21 December 1965) is a German politician. He is co-chairman of the German political party Alliance '90/The Greens, together with Simone Peter. He was a Member of Parliament of the German Bundestag between 1994 and 2002 and of the European Parliament between 2004 and 2009.[1]

Life and work[edit]

Cem Özdemir is the son of a Turkish-Circassian gastarbeiter from Tokat, Turkey; in 1983 he acquired German citizenship. After graduating from a German Hauptschule and a Realschule Özdemir completed an apprenticeship, becoming an early childhood educator. After qualifying for advanced technical college entrance he studied social pedagogy at the Evangelical Technical College (Evangelische Fachhochschule für Sozialwesen) in Reutlingen, Germany. After completing his studies in 1987, Cem Özdemir worked as an educator and a freelance journalist.[2]

Özdemir describes himself as a "secular Muslim"[3] and is married to the Argentine journalist Pía María Castro.[citation needed]

In 2003 Cem Özdemir joined the German Marshall Fund of the United States in Washington, D.C. and Brussels as a Transatlantic Fellow. During his fellowship he gave various speeches and brown bag lectures at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, on the issue of Turkey and Europe.[citation needed]

He was named on Foreign Policy magazine's 2011 list of top global thinkers.[4]

Political career[edit]


Özdemir has been a member of the Green Party since 1981, originally in the district chapter of Luwdigsburg. Between 1989 and 1994 he was a member in the State Executive (Landesvorstand) of the Green Party in Baden-Württemberg. During that time he was one of the founding members of „Immi-Grün – Bündnis der neuen InländerInnen“, an alliance of "InländerInnen", as opposed to the German word "Ausländer".

On June 2, 2008, Özdemir announced his candidacy for the chairmanship of his party. Özdemir's rival candidate was Volker Ratzman, leader of the Green parliamentary group in the Berlin House of Representatives, who eventually withdrew his candidacy on 4 September 2008 for personal reasons.

In the run-up to the party chairmanship elections, Özdemir also ran for a promising party list position for the Bundestag elections 2009 at the federal state party conference of Baden-Württemberg. In two separate runs he lost to his respective direct opponents. Nevertheless, Özdemir adhered to his candidacy for the party chairmanship.

Since 15 November 2008, Özdemir has been one of two chairmen of Alliance '90/The Greens. He received 79.2 percent of the delegate votes.


From 1994 until 2002, Özdemir was a member of the German Bundestag. From 1998 until 2002, he was the Green Party's Parliamentary Spokesman on Domestic Affairs.

In 2002, he was accused of violation of parliamentary regulations for retaining "Miles-and-More" airline miles accrued during official travel as a member of the Bundestag for personal use. He subsequently resigned as spokesman for domestic affairs and as a member of the Bundestag.[5]

In 2009, Özdemir was not elected to the Bundestag. As a candidate in the constituency of Stuttgart I, which covers south Stuttgart he polled 29.9%, but lost to Stefan Kaufmann, the candidate of the CDU.

European Parliament[edit]

From 2004 until 2009, Özdemir was a member of the European Parliament in the parliamentary group The Greens – European Free Alliance (Greens – EFA). During the time he was the group’s spokesperson on foreign policy, a member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the European Parliament’s rapporteur on Central Asia.[1]


  • Currywurst und Döner – Integration in Deutschland
  • Ich bin Inländer (autobiography)
  • Die Türkei: Politik, Religion, Kultur


  1. ^ a b "Biography". Oezdemir.de. 2011-10-13. Retrieved 2011-10-20. 
  2. ^ Dempsey, Judy (2008-11-16). "Greens in Germany pick son of Turks as leader". New York Times. Retrieved 2011-10-20. 
  3. ^ Spiegel online, 15. October 2008: A Turk at the Top.
  4. ^ "The FP Top 100 Global Thinkers". Foreign Policy. Retrieved 2011-12-04. 
  5. ^ "Bundestag: Bonusmeilen werden noch weiteren Abgeordneten um die Ohren fliegen - SPIEGEL ONLINE - Nachrichten - Politik". Spiegel.de. 2002-07-30. Retrieved 2011-10-20. 

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