What Happened In The Berlin Local Elections? – OpEd


Recent developments that will change the political balance in Germany has become very visible. What will be the response in Turkey, in the business world, how much concern shall we have in the energy sector? Let’s call all along the answer to this question. But first, let’s go back a bit

In the spring of 1945, Russian army started an offensive to reach Berlin, capital of Nazi Germany. Russians deployed 1,500,000 troops, 6500 battle tanks, 7,50 aircraft, 40,000 heavy guns. Russians lost 81,000 and 250,000 were wounded. Germans losses were more than 100,000, and 200,000 were wounded. Berlin fell in 2-weeks. Adolf Hitler and his top generals either committed suicide or surrendered. Surviving German soldiers and adult men were sent to infamous Gulag camps in Siberia. The war came to an end. Germany was now divided; West occupied by the Allied forces and East occupied by Russians.

Soon, Russians built a great monument in Treptow park in Berlin to commomorate the fallen Russian soldiers during Berlin siege. They erected a gigantic statue of a Russian soldier in uniform and a cape. He is holding a small girl under his left arm saving her, a sword on hir right hand, an automatic rifle swung on his back, and a swastika under his feet. Russians and East German administration organized annual commemoration ceremonies until 9th November 1989, the fall of Berlin wall.

Germans have been showing their discomfort about this sculpture, which has reminded them ruthless repressive occupation forces. They wanted the removal of the statue which was reminiscent of distasteful practice of past occupation. Similar statues were removed one by one from other eastern European countries. Russians insisted and this statue was kept in place.

In 2015, Germans organized a rock concert in abandoned Tempelhoff airbase. It was a Woodstock style festival for young people, with attendance of 70,000 fans. The Concert was a popular event with the youngsters.

This year “Lollapalooza Rock Festival” was reorganized in Berlin. This time organizers preferred arrange the festival in Treptow park. The morning program began with budding young rock bands, then continued with the better known rock bands later at night. Entrance fee was 75 euros per person per day. Young people from every part of the world were in the festival with more than 100,000 participants. They consumed traditional German foods schnitzer and wurst, drunk lots of German beer.

Berlin “Lollapalooza” Rock Festival is now over. It is now time for cleaning the dirt that was accumulated during the rock festival. Berlin Municipality is not sure if the entry fee may be sufficient to pay the repair, clean the park, remove refuse, wipe out graffiti, re-sod the grass, and prepare the land for use again.

AFD German Nationalist party with anti-refugee policies was present in full force in this concert. They organized a political rally on the second day at 16: 00. It was observed that AFD found a lot of supporters. Recent opinion polls showed that the German Chancellor’s Popularity had lowered at alarming levels.

In the 16 September local elections in Berlin, AFD, SPD and Green parties were the winners. The ruling coalition has lost the majority vote. In upcoming 2017 general elections, AFD ultranationalist party may get votes to join the government coalition, and enforce serious anti-refugee policies, such as limiting the incoming refugees, deporting illegal refugees. Poland, Hungary, Czech, Austria, Bulgaria, do not take the refugees to their territory.

How all these affect foreigners? Current German coalition government in power pursues moderate foreign policy, they have positive integration policies towards refugees. Germany has an old age population, at 46 average age. New government with AfD partner will have too protectionist, xenophobic policies to pursue. The deportation of illegal refugees to return to their countries may come to practice. However this practice may not cover foreigners with long term “residence permit”.

It is the most likely foreseen that entry visa to Germany or Schengen will be too difficult to get for foreigners, non-Germans, for citizens of non-EU member countries. In power plant equipment sales, it would not be a problem, as long as you have money to pay and you can finance your project.

German power plant contractors, manufacturers and suppliers of gas turbines, steam turbines, boilers, software, hardware are ready to deliver their products and services at all times. However, it is foreseen that it will be difficult to make contract negotiations in Germany. So you better organize those meetings in your country.

Haluk Direskeneli

Haluk Direskeneli, is a graduate of METU Mechanical Engineering department (1973). He worked in public, private enterprises, USA Turkish JV companies (B&W, CSWI, AEP, Entergy), in fabrication, basic and detail design, marketing, sales and project management of thermal power plants. He is currently working as freelance consultant/ energy analyst with thermal power plants basic/ detail design software expertise for private engineering companies, investors, universities and research institutions. He is a member of Chamber of Turkish Mechanical Engineers Energy Working Group.

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