It seems you can’t talk about Germany these days without dragging Turkey into the conversation and that’s particularly true of the ongoing refugee crisis. Chancellor Angela Merkel sat down for an interview this week and was asked about the refugee situation and whether or not she might consider a cap on incoming immigrants in light of all the problems they’ve been experiencing. Despite some of her previous statements during the current election campaign, Merkel flatly rejected the idea of limiting the number they would accept. (Deutsche Welle)
German Chancellor Angela Merkel refused to place an upper limit on refugees that the country accepts, speaking in an annual interview broadcast on Sunday.
Distancing herself from the position of her conservative Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union (CSU), Merkel, who leads the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), said placing a limit on refugees was not the way forward.
“As far as an upper limit is concerned, my position is clear: I will not accept it,” she said, saying that numbers could be reduced by regulation and taking action to prevent the situations that cause people to flee one country for another…
In the wide ranging interview Merkel said she hoped to work with NATO to resolve a widening gulf between Turkey and Germany.
First of all, that’s still a risky position to take for Merkel. Until the last few months her poll numbers were in dire straits, largely due to unrest in her own country, a plague of violence committed by refugees and ongoing terror concerns. But her support has solidified somewhat of late so it sounds like she’s back to her old open doors policy for the most part. Still, she has to form a ruling coalition if she wins another term and her partners in the Christian Social Union are threatening to revolt if there isn’t a limit put in place.
The interview quickly dragged the question of Turkey into the mix because of their key role in so many of these questions. The relationship between Turkey and Germany is completely on the rocks at the moment, with the Germans pulling some of their military assets out of Incirlik airbase as we previously discussed, and Merkel has refused to turn over Turkish “enemies of the state” to Recep Tayyip Erdogan. That makes the situation all the more dicey since Erdogan could open the floodgates for more refugees to stream northward any time he wishes.
In the end, one of the comments from Merkel may turn out to be the only saving grace for her. She noted that the real solution to the refugee crisis would be to prevent the situations that cause people to flee from their homelands to places like Germany. That’s a fairly obvious statement but until this summer it hasn’t looked very likely since we’re primarily talking about refugees from Syria and Iraq. But with ISIS having lost almost its entire caliphate and some nascent cease-fire action taking place in Syria, the refugee problem could be slowing down as well. In fact, if things stabilize enough in that region we might even see some of the refugees heading back home.
That’s a worthy goal we should all be hoping for and it would solve a multitude of problems for Merkel and other European leaders if it happens. At least until next time…