German-Turk minister under fire for 'deep state' remark
Bilkay Öney. AA photo
Germany's Christian Democratic Union (CDU) has harshly criticized the integration minister of Baden-Württemberg state, German-Turk Bilkay Öney, for saying a neo-Nazi killing spree that killed 10 people was the result of a “deep state” in Germany.
It is "unacceptable for a minister of Germany to create and spread conspiracy theories" regarding the neo-Nazi killings, CDU deputy Bernhard Lasotta said in a statement published on news websites Morgenweb and Südkurier.
Lasotta said the term "deep state" entailed a collaboration between state security forces and criminal organizations and was extensively used in Turkey, where activists and journalists have been murdered in the past in political-motivated killings.
CDU Parliamentary Group Chairman Peter Hauk said Öney should apologize for using the term and accused the minister of deliberately using the term to increase her popularity in Turkey.
Hauk also said it should be investigated why Öney chose to speak in Turkish, rather than in German, in a speech she made at an event in Stuttgart.
Öney twice alleged – once on Nov. 17, 2011, and again on March 2, 2012 – that a "deep state" within the German state apparatus recruited neo-Nazis as agents to carry out criminal acts. Öney had also used the term "deep state" in a call she made to outlaw the National Democratic Party (NPD), a far-right party.
A neo-Nazi group is suspected of killing eight Turks and a Greek between 2000 and 2006, as well as a policewoman in 2007, in a series of racially motivated murders
No tolerance to criticism from a Turk: Öney
Öney issued a written statement about the accusations, saying she stood behind her initial critique of the German state and added that the CDU was deliberately distorting the meanings of her words in an effort to question her loyalty to the German state. "The CDU does not want a critical approach from a minister of Turkish origin. That is the real problem.”
Öney's spokesperson, Fatih Ekinci, told daily Hürriyet that they were surprised by the CDU's recent criticism, given that the minister made the comments months ago.
Ekinci said Öney's remarks were misunderstood and that she was not considering resigning at the moment.