A senior ally of German Chancellor Angela Merkel has warned that her plan to stem mass migration from Turkey may backfire, and induce a “new, uncountable influx” of migrants from the Muslim world.
In October last year, the European Union (EU) led by Chancellor Merkel agreed a €3 billion aid package, including fast tracked access the Schengen free movement zone for Turkish citizens, if the nation made some attempt to stem the massive flow of migrants from the Middle East and north Africa.
The deal promised “completing the visa liberalisation process i.e. the lifting of visa requirements for Turkish citizens in the Schengen zone” and to re-open negotiations on Turkey’s bid to join the European Union.
However, a member of the Chancellor’s ‘Grand Coalition’ and Vice-President of the Bundestag, Johannes Singhammer, told Passauer Neue Presse on Tuesday that lifting visa requirements would lead to a fresh wave of migrants from the Middle East, North Africa, and Turkey itself.
There are “serious considerations” about the prospective visa-free regime, Mr. Singhammer warned, because it would open “a gateway for further immigration and [flow of] refugees to Germany.”
Citing Foreign Ministry figures, he said that more than 200,000 Schengen visas are being issued annually by German consulates and visa centres in Turkey.
Mr. Singhammer explained that not only war-torn Syria or Iraq could add to this influx, but also Turkey itself. Especially the domestic violent conflict with the Kurds “has a vast potential to create new reasons [for those persecuted] to flee.”
Turkey is currently shelling Kurdish towns in Northern Syrian, and parts of the Kurdish dominated east of Turkey have descended into “civil war”. Many thousands of Turkish Kurds have been internally displaced, and could reasonably apply for asylum in Europe.
Chancellor Merkel’s deal with Turkey is already been seen as failing, however, long before these fresh warnings.
At the beginning of February Turkey demanded €5 billion, rather than the previously agreed €3 billion, after being criticised by the EU for doing little or nothing to stem the migrant exodus since the agreement was made.
Turkey’s Islamist President Tayyip Erdoğan cranked up his rhetoric shortly after, promising to “open the gates” to hundred of thousands of migrants who could be transported into Europe by “bus” and even “plane”, unless his demands for more aid were not met.