Three days after a German-Iranian teenager killed nine people in Munich along with other incidents involving asylum seekers, there seems to be outrage in Germany over Merkel’s ‘open door policy’. These incidents come soon after the Nice attack, carried out by the so-called ISIS. While the perpetrators, their methods were different in most of the cases, these incidents will trouble the temporary calm that has set in over the role of migrants in Germany.
After initial political backlash over the inflow of migrants into Germany, the politics over migrants partly subsided. Merkel’s decision to accept asylum seekers from Syria fleeing the conflict back at home led to a massive increase in refugees in Germany. Though the Germans initially accepted Merkel’s policy but there was some sort of anxiety expressed by people over the social, economic and political impact of receiving thousands of migrants. This policy hurt the popularity of the ruling government and increased the popularity of the anti-immigration party Alternate for Deutschland.
So the question that arises is whether how the background of these attackers relevant and what impact will it have on Germany?
The German government has already attempted to deflect the background of attackers by saying that the possibility of an attacker being from a refugee background is less than an attacker among the general population. Though Germany hasn’t suffered a massive terrorist attack like one in Paris and Nice, but that doesn’t mean Germany isn’t a target. The Jihadists who were held up after retuning have reportedly said that the recruiters were keen on targeting Germany. Experts say that Germany isn’t prone to attacks on a massive scale till now because Germany’s Muslim population is of Turkish origin and while there are Turkish Jihadists present, but attacks are usually an Arab thing.
The attacks over the past week is going to fuel Merkel’s opponent specially the AFD whose slogan is “We told you” referring to attacks where the accused involved was a refugee or a Muslim. To mitigate the influx of migrants and refugees, the EU struck a deal with Turkey over returning the migrants back to Turkey and screening of asylum seekers therein but now it also appears in jeopardy as Turkey is in deep political crisis since the past week over the failed Military coup which led to crackdown on the opposition, with EU members threatening Turkey to end the negotiations over its application to become a member of the EU if it doesn’t follow the rule of law. Germany is in the awkward position, should it tell Turkey to follow the rule of law and at the same time respect the migration agreement.
The regional elections in Berlin in September will be an indicator of the popularity of the ruling Merkel’s party and the AFD. If Merkel’s party performs poorly, then she will be under tremendous pressure to toughen her stance on the open border policy and will also affect other issues like how to manage the Eurozone etc. No matter what happens in September, it is going to be a tough time for Germany over the next few years.
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