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Schulz relativizes in the TV duel allegations against Merkel

Sunday, September 3rd, 2017 | World News

The high-voltage expected TV duel between Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel and their challenger Martin Schulz has begun. Both provide a largely objective discussion. On the subject of Turkey, Schulz became very clear. Both criticized US President Trump violently.

At the start of the only TV duel before the Bundestag election, Martin Schulz had relativized his accusation against Angela Merkel that she was taking an "attack on democracy" with her inhospitable politics. This was a "harsh and pointed phrase" which he would not say again, he said on Sunday.

Schulz hopes for the undecided voters
Schulz pointed out that many people were still undecided. Merkel said her party stood for measure and center. It is about sustainable solutions, such as in the current diesel crisis.

Merkel defends her refugee policy
Merkel defended her decision two years ago to open migrants and refugees in Hungary to Germany. "I still believe it is absolutely right," she said on the EU-Turkey refugee agreement. Schulz thought Merkel had not informed the European partners on the decisive night.

Merkel said about her decision at that time: "We have had a very dramatic situation at the time," in which the motto was "The dignity of man is inviolable". Schulz said integrating a million people might be a generational task.

Unity in the topic of integration
Schulz and Merkel emphasized that the integration of migrants in Germany is still a major challenge. With a view to the existing danger, the Chancellor expressed understanding for people who did not want to agree with the phrase 'Islam belongs to Germany'. "I understand the people who are very skeptical."

The terror under the name of Islam solved this. "The clergy must here say much more strongly that this has nothing to do with Islam," she says with regard to Islamic clergy in Germany. However, Islam, which is constitutional, belongs to Germany.

Schulz to stop EU accession negotiations with Turkey
Schulz has called for the abolition of the EU accession negotiations with Turkey. "I think that the next chancellor will have the task to say to the protection of the Federal Republic of Germany of Turkey that all red lines have been crossed, and that country can no longer become a member of the EU," said Schulz.

No German citizen could travel more safely to Turkey, added the SPD chancellor candidate with regard to the arrests of German journalists and human rights activists. As Chancellor, he will therefore "break off the accession negotiations between Turkey and the European Union". However, Germany could not decide on its own, but "talk about it with our European partners".

Schulz also accused Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of "inciting" Turkish-born men in Germany through the imams sent to the Federal Republic. Therefore, as Chancellor, he would cancel the agreement with Turkey on the sending of imams.

Merkel wants to exert greater pressure on Turkey in the face of the arrest of several German citizens. "Turkey is at a breathtaking pace of all democratic practices," she says. Thus, for example, stronger travel warnings are conceivable. "We are currently testing this." Loans – such as Hermes guarantees or by the World Bank – were also audited.

Hard criticism of US President Trump of both
Merkel criticizes US President Donald Trump. "We have serious differences with the American president," she says. As an example, she cites the climax, as well as the statements of Trumps on the racist riots of Charlottesville. "There's a breath." Differences should therefore be addressed clearly.

Schulz does not believe US President Donald Trump is capable of defusing the conflict with North Korea. He did not believe Trump could find a solution. "The problem that we have with Trump is its unpredictability," he says. Instead, we should work with Canada, Mexico, or with forces in the US such as US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

Highlight of a tired election campaign
The TV duel is the highlight of the rather tired running Bundestag election campaign. The SPD hopes that this will be a trend change in the polls – the Schulz party has been far behind the Union for weeks. The four presenters also wanted to interview the CDU chairman and the SPD's chief executive in the fields of foreign policy, social justice and internal security.

In the TV duel, Schulz and Chancellor Angela Merkel will exchange their positions on the topics of migration, foreign policy, social justice and internal security for 90 minutes. The SPD, which lies far behind the CDU / CSU in the polls, hopes the duel will see a turnaround in the Bundestag election campaign.

Merkel and Schulz are interviewed by four journalists from the broadcasters ARD, ZDF, RTL and Sat.1. These broadcast the TV duel also live. In the run-up, the SPD and ex-ZDF chief editor Nikolaus Brender had accused the chancellor of having dictated the conditions and rules for the broadcast. The stations had also wanted a second duel, which Merkel however rejected.

Union is still clearly ahead in the polls
In the polls, the CDU and CSU are far ahead. They reach 37 to 40 percent, while the SPD ranks between 22 and 24 percent. Left, Green, FDP and AfD ranks with figures between 6.5 per cent and eleven per cent by third place. According to a Forsa survey, around half of the 61.5 million voters wanted to pursue the duel. The election is on September 24th.

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