German FM vows justice after killings
Westerwelle (R) talks to the head of the TGD, Kenan Kolat, in Berlin yesterday. REUTERS photo
The people responsible for racially motivated, neo-Nazi murders should be punished and their crimes highlighted, German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said yesterday during a visit to a Turkish association in Berlin.
Despite the need to crack down hard on such killings, Westerwelle said a neo-Nazi cell calling itself the National Socialist Underground and suspected of committing a string of racist murders, including those of eight Turks, throughout the 2000s did not reveal the real Germany.
Germany not only supports its citizens but all people living within its borders, the minister told journalists after his visit to the Turkish Association in Germany (TGD) together with Turkish Ambassador to Berlin Ahmet Acet and Turkish Consul Mustafa Pulat.
Noting that racism and xenophobia should not be tolerated in Germany, Westerwelle further conveyed his solidarity with Turks after the revelation of the far-right murders.
Acet praised Westerwelle’s solidarity messages, saying Turkey knew that a majority of Germans lived in solidarity with immigrants.
The revelation that Germany was home to the lethal National Socialist Underground with three members – two men and one woman – that committed racially motivated members shocked a country in which the far-right has been largely fragmented and marginalized.
‘Authorities did not heed warnings’
Meanwhile, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a written statement Nov. 14 that the revelation of the far-right cell in Germany proved that the warnings made by Turks living in Germany were correct. Victims’ family members told Turkish newspapers that German police suspected the family members, adding that authorities never took a far-right movement into account.
German daily Bild also reported yesterday that Germany’s intelligence agency used people close to far-right suspects as informers in the past and that one of these informers reportedly witnessed some of the murders.
Germany’s domestic intelligence agency was put on the defensive on Nov. 14 amid questions of how a neo-Nazi group that it had become aware of in 1998 could have slipped under the radar and carried out a series of bank robberies and at least 10 murders.
The activities of far-right extremists in Germany have produced a thick chapter in the annual report of the nation’s Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution since the 1960s.
Yet despite all the details on the membership, crimes committed, structure and even fashion sense of such groups, German authorities were reportedly left scrambling for information on the Zwickau-based trio calling itself the Nationalist Socialist Underground. Federal prosecutors are now calling it a domestic terror organization suspected of murdering eight Turks and one Greek from 2000 to 2006 and fatally shooting a policewoman in 2007.