The Strategist

Turkish Kurds are fleeing to Germany

12/26/2016 - 14:07

German magazine Spiegel, citing data from the federal government, reported that in 2016 the German authorities received three times more applications for refugee status from Turkish citizens than in 2015. Given that 80% of requests have come from ethnic Kurds, this phenomenon could probably be explained by mass arrests that took place in Turkey after the military coup on July 15.

R4vi via flickr
R4vi via flickr
"Ankara is in an irreconcilable battle with Kurdish population. Turkey is not a safe country, and neither it is a place where refugees can find shelter," - quoted by Spiegel Bundestag deputy from the Left Party, Ulla Jelpke. According to the Government, quoted by the magazine, 5.2 thousand Turkish citizens applied for the status of refugees in Germany from January to November. Of them, more than 4 thousand were Kurds, while number of such queries amounted to 1.8 thousand for the entire 2015. Collection of this data was initiated by Mrs. Jelpke.  

Such a massive influx of Turkish Kurds in Germany could be associated with frequent arrests after July 15. Almost all of them are based on suspicion of involvement in the attempt of a military coup, or links with Turkish Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK). At that, the Turkish authorities are focusing special attention on parliamentary Democratic People's Party (DEHAP), which, according to some supporters of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has links with the PKK. In particular, dozens of DEHAP’s members have been detained across the country after the terrorist attacks in Istanbul on December 10. As reported by the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Turkey, 500 people were detained for possible links with the Kurdish militias over the past week. Today’s morning, DEHAP issued a press release, which refers to arrest of the party’s Deputy Chairman Aysel Tuğluk. Earlier, a few dozen Turkish soldiers, serving at NATO base Ramstein, and some Turkish diplomats asked Germany for political asylum. 

In spite of significant flow of refugees from Turkey, Germany has accepted around 3 million refugees from neighboring Syria. Almost all of them have been living in the country up to now.

Meanwhile, German Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière, Justice Minister Heiko Maas and German Chancellor Angela Merkel spoke out about possible tightening of the country’s law. Inter-agency meeting on this topic will take place in January, after the Christmas holidays. On behalf of Ms. Merkel, Ministry of Justice, Chancellor’s administration and law enforcement agencies will carefully study case of Anis Amri, who committed a terrorist attack in Berlin on Monday. Recall, the terrorist managed to steal a truck and rushed in a crowd at the Christmas market in the German capital’s center. As a result, 12 people fell victims, including a Polish truck driver, and citizens of Ukraine, Italy, Israel and the Czech Republic. Another 14 people are now in serious condition.

German authorities want to understand what legal "loopholes" allowed to commit the crime, which has become the largest terrorist attack in the history of Germany since 1980. Back then, student extremist Gundolf Köhler plotted an explosion, and killed 13 guests of the Munich Oktoberfest. "If necessary, we will take measures related to changes in legislation", - assured Angela Merkel yesterday.

In particular, the authorities are now discussing a possibility of a more thorough check of persons applying for citizenship, and accelerated deportation procedures for those who met a refusal. Other proposed measures include enhanced oversight of potential terrorists.


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