Cem Ozdemir Cem Ozdemir

  • Germany
  • Co-chair of the German political party Alliance '90/The Greens

Biography

Cem Özdemir (born 21 December 1965) is a German politician. Since 2008 he has been co-chair of the German political party Alliance '90/The Greens, together with Simone Peter. He has been a Member of the German Bundestag since 2013 and he was a Member of the German Bundestag between 1994 and 2002 and of the European Parliament between 2004 and 2009. He was standing as one of the top two Greens candidates for the 2017 German federal election.

Born in Bad Urach, a small town in the hills between Stuttgart and Ulm, Cem Özdemir is the son of a Turkish gastarbeiter ("guest worker") of Circassian provenance, hailing from Tokat, Turkey; in 1983 he and his immigrant parents 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 Reutlingen (de)) in Reutlingen, Germany. After completing his studies in 1987, Cem Özdemir worked as an educator and a freelance journalist.

Özdemir describes himself as a "secular Muslim" and is married to the Argentine journalist Pía María Castro. They have two children: a son and a daughter.

Özdemir has been a member of the Green Party since 1981, originally in the district chapter of Ludwigsburg. 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 (locals), as opposed to the German word Ausländer (foreigners).

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