Monday March 04, 2024

Merkel backs multi-ethnic Germany ahead of reunification day

Published : 03 Oct 2023, 00:36

  DF News Desk
Law enforcement and response, National Police Board, News, News item, Preventive Police Work Former German Chancellor Angela Merkel speaks in the Berlin Ensemble to answer questions from journalist and author A. Osang under the motto "So what is my country?". File Photo: Fabian Sommer/dpa.

Former chancellor Angela Merkel has expressed her backing for modern Germany's multi-ethnic mix and queried why voters gave support to an anti-immigrant party, in a television interview to be broadcast on Tuesday, reported dpa.

Speaking to national public television in an interview to be broadcast as part of celebrations to mark the 33rd anniversary of German reunification, Merkel said with reference to the large minority of Turkish origin: "I often spoke about this to Turkish President (Recep Tayyip) Erdoğan."

On the issue of who was responsible for second and third generation people of Turkish origin in Germany, Merkel told Erdoğan: "Take note, I'm their chancellor."

Erdoğan has been a frequent visitor to Germany, both for official visits and to campaign in the Turkish community ahead of Turkish elections in which they are allowed to vote.

Referring to more recent immigration from other countries, Merkel said this was "a new task once more to absorb them."

She added that she could not understand people voting for the hard-right and anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany (AfD).

"If you present yourself so to speak at the expense of other people, including people who look different and people with a different life story, that is something that I cannot comprehend," she said.

While people could be annoyed by certain things, she could not accept support for ideas that went against tolerance. "I will always argue against this and would say that one can express one's criticism and anger in another way in this democratic society," Merkel said.

Merkel, who served as chancellor for 16 years up to December 2021, is renowned for welcoming a wave of refugees in 2015 with the words: "Wir schaffen das (We can manage this)."