German Chancellor Angela Merkel defends refugee policy, says Islam belongs to Germany

German Chancellor Angela Merkel defends refugee policy, says Islam belongs to Germany

German Chancellor Angela Merkel defends refugee policy, says Islam belongs to Germany

Martin Schulz launched numerous attacks Sunday against German Chancellor Angela Merkel, but he failed to win the only debate before this month's general election. "You have to decide", she said.

Merkel argued that the cease of the accession talks with Turkey can only be decided in the concert of the European Union states.

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"People who don't have the right to be in our country should leave it - people have already been deported", said Merkel, defending her open-door immigration policy, calling for fighting the causes of such crises, like the violence in Syria.

"I don't plan to break off diplomatic relations with Turkey because we have to outdo each other a little bit during the election campaign to see who is tougher", Merkel said. Ankara accuses Germany of harboring terrorist opposition groups and Berlin has slammed Turkey for a recent crackdown on dissidents and the arrest of several German citizens.

In a debate that covered a range of topics - but was notable for its absences, including Brexit, Russia and the future of the euro - Schulz repeatedly argued he would have done what Merkel did, just more successfully.

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel said diplomacy is the best way to tackle the standoff with North Korea, in stark contrast to U.S. President Donald Trump who has dismissed the idea of further negotiations.

In the opening exchanges, Merkel rebuffed the moderators' suggestion that her backing for sovereign bailouts to preserve the euro area and her refusal to close Germany's borders at the height of the refugee crisis two years ago fueled the revival of the anti-immigration Alternative for Germany party.

No - she is sure to lead a coalition government, once again. Merkel also stressed that she would stick to her longtime policy of choosing global cooperation over confrontation, including with U.S. President Donald Trump.

Merkel's call for diplomacy comes as divisions within the USA administration over North Korea were laid bare .

Although polls taken afterwards showed Merkel had prevailed, Schulz's efforts weren't entirely wasted: Before the debate, 60 percent of respondents in a poll for broadcaster ZDF said they would rather have Merkel as chancellor, compared to 33 percent for Schulz. Merkel, leading the conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party, is seeking a fourth term in office.

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