‘I’m their chancellor too’: Merkel urges Turks to commit, endorses EU refugee quota system

German Chancellor Angela Merkel talks during ARD summer-interview infront of the Reichstag in Berlin, Germany August 28, 2016. © Stefanie Loos
In an interview on Sunday, Angela Merkel warned German Turks against dragging Turkey’s internal issues into German politics, while once again imploring them to be loyal to Germany.

The German Chancellor also reiterated her stance on dealing with Europe’s refugee crisis, calling on all EU states to abide by mandatory quotas that require them to accept a certain number of asylum seekers determined by Brussels. 

Speaking to ARD in a televised interview on Sunday, Merkel once again urged German citizens of Turkish origin to contribute to the development of Germany rather than import tensions from the post-coup Turkey. 

“I keep saying that I’m their chancellor too and I think it’s important to profess that and it’s good if that is reciprocated by commitment to our country and not by bringing conflicts from Turkey to Germany,” the chancellor said in response to criticism she has faced in the wake of remarks she made on Tuesday. 

In an interview with Passauer Neue Presse, she stated that she expects “a high degree of loyalty to our country” from German Turks that permanently reside in Germany. 

Weighing in on one of Europe’s most burning issues of today – the refugee crisis that has been plaguing Europe for a second year – she once again voiced support for a controversial migrant redistribution system that imposes mandatory quotas on each EU member state, stressing that “every member must do their share” to deal with the deluge of predominantly Muslim refugees. 

Merkel said EU countries that refuse to take in asylum seekers are acting in an “unacceptable” manner. 

“That’s not right at all that some countries say: ‘generally speaking, we don’t want to have Muslims in our countries,’” she told the ARD. 

Five Central and Eastern European countries – the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania, and Slovakia – are against the EU quota system, which plans to redistribute some 120,000 refugees from Italy and Greece throughout the rest of Europe. However, the scheme was accepted in Brussels over their objections. 

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has been particular outspoken, saying his country “does not need a single migrant” and “every single migrant poses a public security and terror risk.” 

The head of Poland’s ruling Law and Justice Party and former Polish PM Jaroslaw Kaczynski share Orban’s view, saying that no refugees should be accepted. 

The chancellor rebuffed attacks on her infamous “we can do it” approach to welcoming and integrating the hundreds of thousands of  Muslim refugees that have flooded Germany, while touting a set of new measures aimed at curbing their numbers, including some toughing laws aimed at human trafficking.  An initiative is also in the works to better integrate refugees that qualify for asylum.  

In her interview, Merkel assured the hosts that the beefed up Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF), which announced that it is expecting an estimated 300,000 new refugees in Germany this year, is ready to cope with the influx. 

“We are at a completely different position since last year,” Merkel told ARD, highlighting the progress. 

However, half of Germany’s citizens apparently don’t agree. According to the latest poll released by Emnid, 50 percent would be against the chancellor being elected to a new term, and only 42 percent wouldn’t object to her continuing to serve.

A DW poll conducted on August 18 showed that 58 percent of respondents believe “there will be more terror attacks in Germany” resulting from Merkel’s migration policies.

Angela Merkel is Europe’s longest serving head of state and has made a lot of tough decisions that have great impact on European policy in general.

However, when asked in her Sunday ARD interview if she might consider resigning at some point, the German chancellor dodged the question, promising to announce the decision on whether she will run again at an appropriate time.