Chancellor Angela Merkel has appointed a Turkish immigrant to fill the second-highest position in Germany’s domestic intelligence agency, the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz, BfV).
As the BfV’s new vice president, Sinan Selen, a 46-year-old Istanbul-born counter-terrorism expert, will be the first Muslim to fill a top leadership position within Germany’s intelligence community.
The appointment comes just weeks after Merkel fired BfV President Hans-Georg Maaßen for publicly defending the anti-mass-migration party Alternative for Germany (AfD) against attacks from Merkel and her junior coalition partner, the center-left Social Democratic Party (SPD).
By choosing Selen, Merkel appears to be trying to achieve several objectives. First, she seems to be attempting to save her floundering government by placating the SPD, which has demanded that the domestic intelligence agency begin monitoring the AfD party, and which has called for more people with a “migration background” in leadership positions at federal agencies.