The German chancellor Angela Merkel has rejected calls from her sister party to limit the number of refugees entering Germany.
Maintaining distance from the position of her conservative Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union (CSU), Merkel, who leads the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), said placing a limit on refugees was not the way forward.
In an interview to ARD public television she said: “As far as an upper limit is concerned, my position is clear: I will not accept it,” adding that numbers could be reduced by regulation and taking action to prevent the situations that cause people to flee one country for another.
On domestic issue Merkel defended her decision to host the recent G20 summit in Hamburg, known for being a hotbed of left-wing extremism. Riots broke out in the city, with scores of police officers injured and widespread political fallout.
Merkel distanced herself from local politicians within her party who had called for Hamburg’s Mayor Olaf Scholz, a senior SPD member, to step down because of the riots.
Merkel said that while the riots were absolutely unacceptable but it was still right to have invited G20 leaders to Hamburg. “For this, I have the same responsibility as Olaf Scholz does – and I’m not dodging,” she added.
“Things happened that were unacceptable. I don’t shirk my responsibility,” Merkel said.
Merkel said she hoped to work with NATO to resolve a widening gulf between Turkey and Germany.
Last week, Turkey refused to give German lawmakers access to Bundeswehr troops serving on AWACS surveillance planes at the NATO base in Konya which had been scheduled for Monday. Turkey asked for a delay, citing the tense state of German-Turkish bilateral relations.
Merkel refused to link the issue of extradition of Turkish asylum seekers with access to Konya in talks with Ankara. She said the two issues were completely unrelated. The question of asylum and the right to visit German troops have “nothing, but nothing to do with each other,” Merkel said.