Anna Sauerbrey (Continuación)

Perhaps it was inevitable that as Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, continued his authoritarian course, relations with his Western European neighbors would worsen. Unfortunately, he’s managing to ruin not just his own relationships with other governments, but also the Turkish-German community’s relationship with the rest of their country.

In recent weeks, many policy makers have audibly changed their tone in addressing German Turks and those who claim to represent them in Germany, culminating in a harsh statement from Chancellor Angela Merkel in late August. “We expect from people of Turkish descent who have been living in Germany for a long time to develop a high level of loyalty toward our country,” she said in an interview.…  Seguir leyendo »

A crowd gathered at makeshift memorial near the shopping mall in Munich where a gunman killed nine people. Mauricio Lima for The New York Times

Four attacks in a week have left Germany anxious. On July 18, a teenage refugee attacked passengers on a train near Würzburg with an ax and a knife. Three days later, an 18-year-old shot and killed nine people in Munich. And two days after that, a Syrian refugee killed his girlfriend and co-worker at a kebab shop in Reutlingen, a few hours before another Syrian refugee detonated a bomb in Ansbach, killing himself and wounding 15.

In terms of motivation, the attacks came from all directions. The Würzburg and Ansbach attackers claimed allegiance to the Islamic State, while the Munich killer said he wanted to copy the Norwegian right-wing extremist and mass murderer Anders Breivik.…  Seguir leyendo »

Ya sea que la decisión del Reino Unido de abandonar la Unión Europea resulte ser un desastre o solo un bache para Europa en el camino hacia la unificación, hay una consecuencia que ya es muy evidente y preocupante: el brexit afianzará el papel de Alemania como líder de Europa, y nadie está conforme con esta situación, ni siquiera la misma Alemania.

En contadas ocasiones se ha sentido tan sola como ahora en el centro de Europa. Con la salida del Reino Unido, Alemania pierde un aliado importante no solo dentro de la Unión Europea, sino en otras áreas de política exterior fuera de ella.…  Seguir leyendo »

Whether Britain’s decision to leave the European Union turns out to be a disaster or just a bump in the road for Europe on its path to unification, one consequence is already abundantly, disturbingly clear: Brexit will cement Germany’s role as the Continent’s leader — a role that neither Germany nor anybody else is entirely comfortable with.

It has rarely felt this lonely at the center of Europe. With Britain leaving, Germany is losing an important partner within the European Union, as well as on foreign policy beyond it.

That is not to say that Britain was an easy partner in recent years.…  Seguir leyendo »

In Germany, a big question is back on the table: What is German — and how German do you have to be to belong to Germany? With the arrival in 2015 of 1.1 million refugees and migrants, it’s an important issue. But rather than having a reasoned debate, the extremists have already taken control. For a disturbing number of Germans, the answer is culture, including religion.

That’s the message coming out of the Alternative for Germany, an upstart right-wing party that has drawn double-digit support in recent state-level elections. At a convention earlier this month, the party adopted the sentence “Islam does not belong to Germany” into its official platform.…  Seguir leyendo »

Though it’s a fact often overlooked by the rest of the world, Germany is a funny place — seriously. Long before Jon Stewart and Samantha Bee redefined topical American humor, comedians here perfected the art of sharp political satire.

For the most part, German politicians get the joke. But now politics and humor are colliding in a new way — a collision that exposes the tragicomedy of modern Europe.

A few weeks ago, the German TV program “extra3” satirized Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in song, which prompted the Turkish government to call in the German ambassador to Ankara for a lecture, presumably, on its views regarding the limits of free speech.…  Seguir leyendo »

The next few weeks will most likely determine the future of Germany’s approach to the refugee crisis — and perhaps the future of the country itself.

There are two important dates coming up: a European Union summit meeting on Feb. 18 and 19, which represents Chancellor Angela Merkel’s last chance to win over the rest of Europe to her open-door refugee policy, followed by elections in three federal states in Germany on March 13, which will offer an implicit referendum on Ms. Merkel’s political course.

Future generations might remember the past months as the final days of the age of convergence.…  Seguir leyendo »

On New Year’s Eve, hundreds of men gathered in the plaza at the main train station in Cologne, Germany, groping and robbing scores of women as they passed by. By the end of this week the police had received 170 complaints, including 120 related to sexual assault.

Despite the fact that the attacks occurred in the center of Germany’s fourth-largest city, it took days for the news to surface in the national media. Even stranger, the police seemed to know little about the attacks. No arrests were made, and authorities claimed that nearby surveillance cameras offered little help in identifying suspects.…  Seguir leyendo »

Germany is not lacking in right-wing sentiment these days, but most people are careful about how they deploy their anti-immigrant rhetoric. And then there’s Björn Höcke.

Last month Mr. Höcke, a leading figure of the right-wing populist party Alternative für Deutschland, gave an openly racist speech on the “differing reproductive strategies” of Africans and Europeans. It was not the first time he had drawn on National Socialist themes, but this time he caused uproar, even in his own party, which has asked him to resign his membership.

Whatever happens to Mr. Höcke, though, his willingness to use overtly racist language has revived an age-old fear in Germany.…  Seguir leyendo »

Opponents of the German government's refugee policy rallied in Berlin on Nov. 7. Credit Mehmet Kaman/Anadolu Agency, via Getty Images

In Europe, it took the right and the extreme right just hours to turn the terrible events of Paris into political fodder: On Saturday afternoon in France, Laurent Wauquiez, secretary general of the Republicans, the conservative party of former president Nicolas Sarkozy, demanded detention camps for some 4,000 people in France considered potential terrorists by the authorities.

And in Germany Markus Söder, the minister of finance in Bavaria and a leader of the Christian Social Union, the sister party of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives and the sharpest critics of her refugee policy, said: “The era of uncontrolled migration and illegal immigration is over.…  Seguir leyendo »

At a meeting with German schoolchildren in July, Chancellor Angela Merkel met Reem Sahwil, a Palestinian refugee girl from Lebanon. She told Ms. Merkel that her family was afraid to be denied residence, and started to cry. In front of reporters, Ms. Merkel told the girl she was sorry, but that Germany couldn’t take in everybody.

Within minutes, the story went viral, seeming to prove to everyone that Germany, and its leader, were just as hardhearted as their handling of the Greek financial crisis had led many to believe. And yet it was vintage Merkel. As a way of speaking and acting, ironic distance, a noncommittal coolness, has long been her trademark, deeply ingrained in her politics, her rhetoric, her personality.…  Seguir leyendo »

Will Germany Succumb to Hate?

Amid the staccato ping of news generated by Europe’s migration crisis, perhaps nothing is more jarring than what is playing out in Germany. The country, which expects up to a million refugees to arrive this year and whose chancellor has been the Continent’s most outspoken advocate for accepting refugees, has also experienced more than 200 attacks, mostly arson, on homes for asylum seekers during the first six months of the year, according to the Ministry of Homeland Affairs.

It feels like staring at a strobe light, this bounce between humanitarianism and terrorism. Many Europeans, and especially Germans, are watching with a sense of helplessness: Will our urge to help let loose our darkest demons?…  Seguir leyendo »

Germany’s political summer break has started with a hangover. After weeks of very long days spent on the Greek debt crisis, an exhausted-looking Chancellor Angela Merkel is off to her usual recreational program, starting with some Wagner at the festival of Bayreuth, and her finance minister, Wolfgang Schäuble, is trying to gather strength on the North Sea island of Sylt. Meanwhile, the rest of Europe is wondering whether the headache will ever subside. We’ve drunk too much of the Greek crisis, and the booze has revealed some uncomfortable truths.

The past round of negotiations aimed at resolving the Greek debt crisis has once more shed light on one of the European Union’s core flaws, namely, its lack of democratic legitimacy.…  Seguir leyendo »

In the last few weeks, many Germans have come to know a young Muslim blogger in Berlin named Betul Ulusoy. Having obtained a law degree, Ms. Ulusoy applied for several jobs in Berlin’s city administration as a trainee, and was hired for a post in the city district of Neukölln.

But when she came to sign the contract in a head scarf, she says, she was informed that the administration would have to reconsider the decision because of the city’s “neutrality law.” Like several other German states, Berlin requires its employees in certain positions by law to refrain from wearing religious symbols or dressing in a way that makes them recognizable as members of a certain denomination.…  Seguir leyendo »

Over the last few weeks Germany has been rocked by a series of leaked government documents revealing new details on the extensive cooperation between the German foreign intelligence service and the National Security Agency, including spying on other European governments. At the same time, emails leaked to the news media have revealed that a promised “no spy” agreement, under negotiation since the revelation in 2013 of N.S.A. surveillance on German government officials, was nowhere close to completion, contrary to explicit claims by the office of Angela Merkel, the chancellor.

These revelations have fueled a bitter debate in the Bundestag, with distinctly anti-American overtones.…  Seguir leyendo »

Why Old Nazis Are Still Useful

The trial of Oskar Gröning, the 93-year-old “accountant of Auschwitz,” began last week in the German city of Lüneburg. Mr. Gröning is charged with complicity in the murder of at least 300,000 people. At least once during the summer of 1944, according to his accusers, when thousands of Hungarian Jews arrived by cattle car at Auschwitz-Birkenau, he stood at the exit ramp, watching as the passengers were divided into those to be put into forced labor and those to be killed instantly.

The trial has gained widespread attention in Germany and around the world, and not only because Mr. Gröning expressed regret for his actions.…  Seguir leyendo »

Katja Suding fought hard. The Free Democratic Party’s lead candidate in last month’s state election in Hamburg, Germany, even had herself photographed with two of her colleagues posing as “Charlie’s Angels.” Such stunts are out of form in the staid world of German politics, but the Free Democrats, a pro-free market, pro-civil liberties party also known as the Liberals, had nothing to lose: Since 2013 they have been absent from the Bundestag for the first time in their history, and have been hemorrhaging members and funds.

Ms. Suding’s ploy worked: The Free Democrats won 7.4 percent in Hamburg, enough to get them into the city-state’s Parliament.…  Seguir leyendo »

Germany Isn't Turning Backward

I am a patriot. Being German, those words don’t come easily, particularly for a leftish, skeptical urbanite like myself. And particularly not now, just a few days before we commemorate the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. But yes, I love my country.

The reason I say it out loud, now, is that I feel I have to defend Germany against those on the streets of Dresden who also call themselves “patriots” — “Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West,” to be precise, which is the name of a loose alliance that brings thousands to the streets every Monday.…  Seguir leyendo »

Why Germans Are Afraid of Google

These days Germany is known for being many things: a leader in clean technology, a manufacturing powerhouse, Europe’s foreign policy center. But increasingly, it seems to have taken on yet another stereotype — as a nation of Luddites.

And truth be told, Germany is not a great place to be a big tech company these days. Günther H. Oettinger, a German official and the European Union’s incoming commissioner for digital economy and society, has assailed Google for having too big a presence in Europe, and speaks of “cuts” in the company’s market power. In Berlin, Sigmar Gabriel, the vice chancellor and economics minister, is investigating whether Germany can classify Google as a vital part of the country’s infrastructure, and thus make it subject to heavy state regulation.…  Seguir leyendo »

In the week since Annette Schavan, the German education minister, resigned over a plagiarism scandal involving her doctoral thesis, Berlin has been feeling a bit hung over.

Expressions of regret have spread among the political classes, with an undertone of remorse and a tinge of melancholy. Political pundits and academic representatives have stressed Ms. Schavan’s expertise and lauded her accomplishments. Yet no one questions that, especially in an election year, she had to go.

At the same time, the scandal has opened up a conversation about Germany’s hunger for scandal and moral self-flagellation wherever it is found, however minor — a condition that has fed a deep, slow-burning crisis in our political culture.…  Seguir leyendo »