Erdoğan says Turkey ‘keeping a close eye’ on Germany after Hanau shooting
A police officer stands guard beside candles and flowers near one of the shooting targets, on Feb.20, 2020, at the Heumarkt in the center of Hanau, near Frankfurt am Main, western Germany, after at least nine people were killed in two shootings late on Feb. 19, 2020. (AFP Photo)
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Feb. 20 said that Turkey is “keeping a close eye” on developments in Germany, after attacks in two bars in Hanau, Germany that killed nine people, including five Turkish nationals.
“Turkey, and especially the Turkish Embassy in Berlin, is carefully monitoring the process,” Erdoğan said.
The president’s remarks came during the inauguration ceremony of the new Presidential Library in capital Ankara.
Turkey expects German authorities to do the necessary thing to shed light on the attack’s all aspects, Erdoğan said.
He also extended condolences to the families of those who lost their lives in the Hanau shooting.
Turkey's Ambassador to Berlin Ali Kemal Aydın told reporters on Feb. 20 that five Turkish nationals were among those killed in the mass shooting.
The perpetrator, who targeted migrants at two cafes in Hanau, near Frankfurt, was identified by security forces as Tobias R., 43, according to the German daily Bild.
He and one other person were found dead in an apartment following a German special operations raid.
Turkey calls on Europe to unite against xenophobia
Meanwhile, the Foreign Ministry said that the shooting of nine people in Hanau is a new and grave manifestation of rising racism and hostility to Islam.
“It is not possible to look at them as an individual attack. The insensitivity shown in the fight against increasing xenophobia in Europe causes new attacks to be added every day,” the ministry said in a written statement.
The ministry stressed now it’s time to stop these attacks. “Otherwise, racism and xenophobia will be able to reach much more serious levels and go to dangerous places,” said Ankara.
The way to effectively combat racism, xenophobia and anti-Islam is, above all, avoiding this encouraging approach and taking effective measures against it, said the minister.
The ministry called on all European countries to unite against racism and xenophobia and speak with one voice.
“We are determined to show the necessary cooperation in bilateral and international arena in combating all kinds of racism and we will continue our sincere efforts in this direction,” said the ministry.
In the wake of a mass shooting in western Germany apparently targeting migrants, Turkey expects German authorities to work hard to solve the case, said Turkey’s presidential spokesman on Feb. 20.
“Turkey expects German authorities to make maximum effort to enlighten the case,” said İbrahim Kalın on Twitter. He also called racism a "collective cancer."
Kalın also extended condolences to the victims' families and a quick recovery to those injured in the shootings.
Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu also criticized the attack, saying the attacks will not only hurt migrants.
“Today it is Muslims who are targeted, but tomorrow this tendency will change, even has started changing. Ethnic racism has started coming to the forefront,” he said.
"If European countries fail to stop racism, conflicts will start. This conflict may drag Europe into massive chaos," he added.
In the meantime, Ömer Çelik, the spokesperson for the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) also lashed out to the
attack, saying it was another example of the "savagery" of racism and fascism.
"This terrible attack is a new act of savagery by racism and fascism, which has taken over Europe step by step," Çelik said in a tweet.
"All European countries, particularly Germany, should take this threat seriously. Invisible Berlin walls are rising every day in Europe. Democracies are under threat. Liberties and human rights are under threat," he said.
He also underlined that Ankara expects Berlin to uncover the underground groups backing such "murderers," which he said was as important as punishing the perpetrators themselves.
Communications Director Fahrettin Altun also said that Turkey demands a thorough investigation and heavy penalties for all perpetrators of the shootings.
“The attacks in Hanau reveal the extent the rising racism, Islamophobia and far-right tendencies in Europe have reached,” he said in a tweet.