German president meets neo-Nazi victims’ families

German president meets neo-Nazi victims’ families

German president meets neo-Nazi victims’ families

German President Joachim Gauck (L) talks next to İsmail Yozgat (C), who displays a picture of his son, Halit, who was killed by the small neo-Nazi group National Socialist Underground (NSU) in Kassel in 2006. The NSU is accused of murdering nine Turkish and Greek immigrants and a policewoman from 2000 to 2007. AFP PHOTO/FABRIZIO BENSCH

German President Joachim Gauck has received the families of Turks who were killed by Neo-Nazis in Germany and said he wanted societal prejudices to be tackled as well as problems within institutions.

Dozens of guests traveled to Gauck’s Berlin residence on Feb. 18. During the private audience, the president pledged to pursue the investigation until sufficient answers were found and to ensure that the families’ suffering wouldn’t be forgotten. “I too was appalled at the mistakes,” he said, referring to oversights by government agencies investigating the murders, Deutsche Welle reported.

He said he would make sure that “public authorities give sufficient explanations and call mistakes,” adding that he would seek consequences in those cases, too.

“All people in our country must know that our state keeps them safe,” said Gauck while admitting that more was need than institutional reforms. “It’s a question of how daily prejudice and resentment can be prevented from taking root,” he said. “It’s about our officials and institutions, but also many citizens, having another mindset.”

Germany was shocked by the scandal in December 2011 when it was revealed that a previously unknown neo-Nazi group, calling itself the National Socialist Underground (NSU), was behind hate murders and killed 10 people, including eight Turks in various cities between 2000 and 2007.