tv Quadriga - The International Talk Show LINKTV March 13, 2016 2:30pm-3:01pm PDT
," this week on "quadriga state elections in germany. voters in three german states go to the polls. many consider this a referendum on chancellor merkel's refugee policy. christian democrats are going nervous. she's promised to find a european solution to the refugee crisis but she hasn't yet. that was clear from monday's eu
turkey summit in brussels. time is running out. the number of refugees arriving in germany has fallen recently, but that's not good enough for some voters. gainsxperts predict big for right-wing populist parties. will this be d-day for marco? coming to you from berlin, "quadriga," the international debate. your host this week, melinda crane. melinda: hello and welcome. will germany's super sunday at up to a verdict on chancellor merkel's refugee policy? will a possible eu-turkey deal calm anxious voters? that is what we want to talk about today with three guests. it is a pleasure to welcome dilek kurban, the marie curie fellow at the hertie school of governance in berlin. she writes a column for the turkish daily newspaper. she thinks conceiving to a
regime for fear of domestic backlash should not be merkel's solution to the crisis. it is a pleasure to welcome derek scally, berlin correspondent of "the irish times." he believes merkel won't be rewarded on sunday for her refugee policies. for want of an alternative, the cd you will not demolish their leader. wolfgang merkel is director of the democracy and democratization institute at the berlin social science center. failure hasel's squandered political capital and contributed to the rise of a german political party that is right-wing and populist. dilek kurban, do you really think the potential deal with turkey is driven by domestic political considerations as your opening statement claimed? throughout the refugee crisis, chancellor merkel has been
standing on principle to an extent rare in her political career. dilek: that is true. she deserves credit for that. maybe she should have first had an agreement within the eu before declaring a policy on the refugees. when we look at the past couple months and her efforts to find a solution, she basically is seeking the answer in a deal with the turkish government, which seems to be exclusively on the terms of the turkish government. she made the mistake of letting the turkish government set the terms and linking the refugee deal with the eu process. the eu process is important for democratization in turkey, but not on these terms. melinda: we want to take a closer look at the potential deal in just a moment. derek scally, you say voters won't reward chancellor merkel
for her refugee policies, but could this turkey deal at least staunch the hemorrhaging away from the mainstream political parties? derek: this is the question. this is what everyone is worried about. underneath, i think we are talking about, will inrt-termism or long-termism politics be rewarded? turkey, andee deal, nato on board, and most germans said, we think that's right, but less than one third said, we think that's possible. and thel solution possible solution, i think voters are very insecure. they think the chancellor isn't aware what is happening in small towns that are dealing with refugees. melinda: the chancellor partial approval ratings have been trending downward this year. this week, it is back to its
highest point for 2016. does that tell us something? derek: she's saying to people, trust me. she's saying, i know i should have a plan. i'm a german, i should have a plan, but i don't have a plan. trust me on this. i think she's pretty much on her last card of trust that she can play. we will see whether people are prepared to give her the benefit of the doubt. melinda: mr. merkel, you said the chancellor squandered european political capital by failing to coordinate better with others. who is around to coordinate with? even her erstwhile ally, austria, has gone for a nationalistic solution. given the reality of what she's dealing with, isn't this deal with turkey perhaps the best she can get? wolfgang: i don't think so. i don't think it was correct and
right and politically wise that she first struck a deal with turkey and not with france. she negotiated with turkey, came to a deal, then presented it more or less surprisingly to the other head of states of the european member states. what she did not do very farsighted was not to get france into the boat. i think this is for the perspective of the european union one of the biggest mistakes she did in this refugee crisis. melinda: frankly, france hasn't been particularly helpful. france has said they are going to take next to no refugees. wolfgang: they have a good argument. it was merkel who opened the borders. merkel did not go immediately after the opening of the borders in september of the last year to the other heads of state and
heads of government of the european member states and negotiated it and came to a kind of solution. what are we doing next? now, it's six months after, and still it's not clear who will contribute to solve this refugee crisis and who will not. france has to be the most eminent ally to germany and to the chancellor. melinda: dilek kurban, the chancellor has said that turkey absolutely is the linchpin to getting the refugee numbers down and making the process of migration orderly. do you think that's right? dilek: it depends. if what she wants is to have the number of refugees down at all cost against international law, against international convention standards of human
rights, then she can cooperate with turkey. but if european values still matter, i think she should have talked better about this. melinda: let's take a look at the proposed deal in order to see the degree to which the accusations you just made are founded. the proposed deal with turkey is by no means signed, sealed, and delivered. let's look at how it is shaping up. >> it will be difficult to work out a compromise with turkey, but rising tensions in the eu may prove more difficult to deal with. chancellor merkel wants to do a sharply reduce the number of refugees, but that will be expensive. turkey is ready to make some concessions, but has also made a number of demands. the turkish prime minister wants more money, visa-free travel for turks, and new talks on turkey's bid to join the eu. in return, turkey would take
migrants who don't qualify for asylum in the eu. turkey has been criticized for seizing control of a big opposition newspaper last week and for its ongoing conflict with the kurds. the eu needs turkey now more than ever. is the turkey-eu deal a fair one? fear can mean many things. dilek kurban, you sit on the eu commission's independent network of experts. if they came to you for advice, what would you tell them? would you say this is not a fair deal? i have -- what i would say is what i have been saying all along over the years. it is not fair. when you read the statement, there's only one reference to media and they say the discussed
the situation of the media. the eu leaders could have done much better at least to add something about their concern about media freedom in turkey. melinda: given the fact that turkey has just shut down a major newspaper. dilek: who is going to make that determination? -- ay has atria graphical geographical reservation to the geneva convention. whooesn't consider anybody comes from countries east of turkey as refugees. only 10% of refugees in turkey are in refugee camps. there are reports of exploitation of syrian children in sweatshops. schooling rates are very low. towards thebe fair kurdish refugees from syria in terms of collecting those that will be sent to europe? there are so many concerns here. we will see how they will be laid out.
the treatment of refugees cannot be left to turkey. there are specific courts rulings on this. melinda: derek scally, turkey has taken in more syrian refugees than any other country, more than 2 million at the moment. as i've said, the chancellor has repeatedly said, we have to deal with turkey to get this problem under control. if we emphasize the defects of this agreement, aren't we making the perfect enemy of the at least ok? derek: no matter what way merkel acts, somebody is saying this is not the perfect deal. she brought in people from hungary and that gave other people in europe a chance to sit on their hands. now with turkey, there is so little coordination in the european union.
to deal with what critics would say is a political devil. from the german perspective, they say, o is helng us? this is absolutely not ideal. merkelerself ino friend of thturkish esident. he despises the woman because she does not believe turkey belongs in the eu. the cynicism in one respect is clear. saying, i seee nobody working with me, so i'm looking to the east. i have grave doubts about it, but i don't know what anyone else in europe is doing. i have yet to see what other alternatives are on the table. europedid liken the crisis deals and expect people to sign off on it. melinda: wolfgang merkel, isn't there something to that argument? there aren't many good alternatives out there. wolfgang: i do agree. we have to strike a deal.
the european union has to come to an agreement with turkey. i literally share each of your critical points with regard to the outlook on government. is more thantics principles and morals. and we have, the democracies have to negotiate and deal with dictatorships or gray zone regimes like turkey as well. and negotiate with china they negotiate with russia. the problem i see is that she is too much on turkey and i also see a problem in the sequence of negotiations. she should have come first to an agreement with the most relevant and important member states of the european union and then negotiated with turkey. examplesee that for
great britain, france, even italy will accept the famous contingence. melinda: let's briefly -- resettled refugees they are supposed to take from turkey. for every refugee sent back to turkey, the eu is supposed to take legal contingence from turkey. wolfgang: but they have to come then to a common understanding. how many for example, how many refugees ireland will accept, and how many france will accept. whatever formula you can think of for distributing the refugees , mo of the cntries, the major countri, will n accep share of refugees. derek: she also has no leverage.
the reason german federal states are accepting refugees is they are legally obliged. in the euro crisis, germany had the checkbook as leverage. i think germany is realizing, number one, we have no political leverage. if a country like ireland can get away with this. secondly, the goodwill around germany is rather empty. politicians, do you have to strike this tone of doing your homework in the crisis? i think germany needs a favor now. i wonder how many politicians are saying, schadenfreude, delightful german word, delight at other people's misery. melinda: leaving aside the moral and legal considerations that you raised, do you think this deal is a workable way to bring the refugee numbers down? dilek: whether workable or not
will have to be seen. there are certain concerns. still want to say, turkey is not china. if we are going to basically disregard this whole criteria, that's fine, but everyone is playing a game here. melinda: the promise to open more of what is called accession chapters, isn't it largely symbolic? behind closed doors, everybody says, we know turkey is not going to be a member. ,ilek: exactly, it is a game but it has consequences in turkey. we are paying the price of this game. just because merkel wants to be elected, she cannot do that at the expense of further givinghening a regime by legitimacy to erdogan's new
turkey. melinda: wolfgang merkel, haven't we seen in the case of other countries that holding out that promise actually can help push the mechanization along? wolfgang: i would argue these were easier cases than turkey. towas not that difficult establish democracy in poland, and even in the slovak republic. we are not talking about bulgaria and romania. criteriaour copenhagen , meaning these countries have to fulfill certain democratic standards, they never fulfilled these standards. what we have seen during these accession treaties with turkey is not an increase of the democratic structure and culture of this country. we have seen a decline of democratic quality of those who are in government. that turkeyeptical
will be the next czech case. melinda: there is another benefit this deal would give to turkey, visa-free travel to europe. gette forsure vote erdogan, but is it ar vote getter in europe? do you think europeans would welcome the idea of turks being able to travel to the border free area? the answer is no. people are not thinking rationally. thinking there are well-educated turks who should be coming and going. they just see more of what they've seen in the last six months. the right-wing populist parties are playing on these fears. people are afraid somebody somewhere will be taking from them. know foreign people.
to have the notion of more turks , i don't see how that is going to be playing out here. we are dealing with politics in germany literally in the pub level. melinda: let's take a look at one of the right-wing parties that is playing on those fears about the migration, the alternative for deutsche land, afd. >> the alternative for germany party is on a roll. the right-wing populist party has taken a stance against the refugee policy and is playing on the fears of many germans. >> i've got a real problem with all this. the german government caused this crisis. >> this can't go on forever. no country can keep taking in this many people. >> many in eastern germany feel the same way. so do a lot of middle-class voters in western germany.
as sunday's elections approach, approach ofe on the pulling double-digit numbers. a dangerous political party? thatda: let me pass question to you, wolfgang merkel. how worried are you about the rise of the afd? we have seen right-wing populist parties rise to prominence before in germany. they fell apart essentially when confronted with the nuts and bolts of local policymaking. wolfgang: i don't like this party. it is a nazi right-wing populist xenophobic party. they will not challenge democracy here in germany. i would argue that german democracy is so well-established that a party which may poll around 10% to 12% will not challenge the quality of
democracy. one could even argue it's a kind of normalization, a kind of european normalization. you have in almost all the european member states strong and even stronger right-wing populist party. i don't like it, but it will not challenge german democracy. melinda: you've advised leaders in the state that will be going to vote on sunday. interestingly, the cdu candidate fopremierefhis sta tried indirely to capilize on voters'ears abo the refee pocy. she came up with what she called a plan b for migration. it doesn't seem to have helped at the polls. wolfgang: she squandered some kind of credibility capital. that sheally believed will distance from the chancellor.
it looked like a kind of populist move to gain voters. plan, can you remember what she said? the plan itself was not something which could bring us to a solution. it was the wrong move. melinda: dilek kurban, the mainstream political parties are trying to tell us that in fact the state elections aren't going to be a verdict on the governing coalition refugee policies. how concerned are you about the outcome? do you think it is kind of d-day for merkel as our title asks? dilek: democracies have very basic rules and principles. if a segment of the population feels very concerned about various policies regarding eu, refugees, they do have the right to present them. their voices too should be heard. but i think what needs to be
done by merkel and by everybody is, educate the german public about refugee rights and germany's obligations regarding refugees. just dumpingot refugees outside the eu borders, just like excluding other parties out of the parliament, these need to be talked about, discussed, but not by tastefully adopted solutions, but based on democratic principles. melinda: derek scally, rise of d, a real threat for german democracy and chancellor merkel? derek: i think they are only as strong as the mainstream parties are weak. as you said, we had this in the 1990's, but we didn't have social media, this echo chamber for idiocy.
suddenly, they are confirming each other. the german political parties have yet to deal with that. social media is cheap and effective and i've yet to see the main parties dealing with that. until everyone feels they have the right to an uninformed informeduntil an opinion gets the upper hand, the debate is taking place on the terms of the afd and that is bad for german politics. melinda: i gather that none of you believe these elections represent an imminent threat to the chancellor remaining in office, but what about longer-term? could the refugee crisis proved to be her make or break issue? do you think she may wind up eventually leaving office because she failed to solve it? wolfgang: i don't think so. it is not her character. i don't see strong political parties which can substitute the christian democratic party, and
she knows that still the majority of the german population cannot imagine another chancellor for the moment than her. least stay will at in power until the next election next fall, or the fall in 2017. then it will depend on the coalition formula. extent depend to some whether the european union has found a solution of fair distribution of refugees and accepting and looking at the international legal obligation these states have agreed upon. melinda: many thanks to all of you for being with us. and thanks to all of you out there for tuning in. see you soon.
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