Billmon on the POTUS Race

Here Come 2 Million? 3 Million? Kurds

Since Europe can't or won't secure its external borders, it's begging Turkey to do something, anything, to reduce the flow of migrants. In return, Turkey is demanding billions of Euros and -- much more importantly -- the ability for Turkish citizens to travel to Germany without visas (g). A German CSU politician is saying this is insane.

Why? Let's do the math. There are currently 16 million Turkish citizens of Kurdish descent in Turkey. There is a long history of discrimination by Turkish governments against this ethnic minority, including torture, forced displacement, and other repressive measures. The current conservative-nationalist Turkish government is fighting an open war against various Kurdish rebel groups, both inside and outside Turkey.

This means that under German law as it is currently being applied by the ruling coalition in the real world (not German law on the books), there are probably something like 5-8 million Turkish Kurds who might have a plausible claim for asylum or subsidiary protection. That's just a guess, the real number could be higher, but probably not much lower.

If visa requirements are lifted completely, each of these persons could buy a cheap plane ticket to any German airport, utter the word 'asylum', and trigger a years-long judicial process with a good chance of ending in a residency permit.

How many would actually do this? Who knows? But it could be quite a lot, given that:

  • There are already 800,000 Kurds living in Germany right now. As migration researchers know, existing kin networks in a destination country massively increase the likelihood and scope of migration,
  • Life even on the lowest rungs of German society is much safer, more comfortable, and more prosperous than life in the parts of Turkey where most Kurds live, and
  • The nationalist, authoritarian Turkish government would probably be overjoyed to see millions of members of this restive minority group leave forever. Ankara will probably offer them free plane tickets and a 'good riddance' bonus.

Any politician who proposes lifting visa restrictions on travel from Turkey needs to answer the following questions:

  • How many Kurds will come and claim asylum? Are you sure it's only going to be X million? Didn't you say in February 2015 that Germany would only get 350,000 migrants by the end of 2015?
  • Are you aware that violence between Kurds and Turks in Germany is already routine (g)? Do you seriously believe that the arrival of, say, 2 million new Kurds in Germany will not escalate this problem?
  • Since Turkish Kurds are likely to arrive speaking no German and with limited job skills, just like current migrants, where is the extra 60-70 billion Euro/ year going to come from to provide them all with housing, food, welfare, medical care, education and German courses?

And finally, the most important, most fundamental, most urgent question of all:

Why should a peaceful, stable, prosperous country like Germany import from some remote corner of some faraway land a violent ethnic conflict which has nothing whatsoever to do with Germany and which 98% Germans do not understand or care about?