Surge of Turkish refugees into Germany

The increase will embarrass Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, as she tries to defend Turkey\'s role as Europe\'s gatekeeper against migrants.

Published: 06th August 2016 08:20 AM  |   Last Updated: 06th August 2016 06:49 PM   |  A+A-

The number of Turkish asylum seekers in Germany has almost doubled this year, a development which could undermine the EU's migrant deal.

The increase will embarrass Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, as she tries to defend Turkey's role as Europe's gatekeeper against migrants.

It will also add to growing European criticism of Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey's president, over the repression of democratic freedoms in Turkey.

Official figures show that 1,719 Turkish citizens claimed asylum in Germany in the first half of the year, compared with 1,767 in the whole of last year. The surge was recorded before last month's failed coup attempt in Turkey, and was made up mostly of ethnic Kurds fleeing renewed conflict between Turkish security forces and Kurdish separatists.

The asylum data was released amid divisions between Turkey and the EU over the migrant deal, under which Turkey is to stop migrants entering the EU in return for euros 6?billion in aid.

Turkey has threatened to pull out of the agreement unless its citizens are granted visa-free travel to the Schengen Area by October. German officials yesterday insisted there was no need for a back-up plan.

A new opinion poll showed a sharp drop in support for Mrs Merkel's refugee policy.

Only a third of Germans still support it, according to the opinion poll for the broadcaster ARD.

An overwhelming 88 per cent want Mrs Merkel to confront the Turkish regime over its perceived failings, and 69 per cent want talks on visa-free travel for Turks to be suspended even if it endangers the migrant deal.

But there was some comfort for Mrs Merkel. Although her personal approval rating fell, support for her Christian Democrat party (CDU) remained steady in first place at 34 per cent.

Her coalition partner, the Social Democrats (SPD), also remained steady at 22 per cent, meaning if there was an election tomorrow her government could remain in power.


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