Greek man saves Turks from fire in Germany

Greek man saves Turks from fire in Germany

BACKNANG, Stuttgart
Greek man saves Turks from fire in Germany

A blazing fire leaks from the roof of a building in Backnang, Germany, on March 10, 2013. AFP Photo

A Greek citizen was able to save three people after being the first to notice the fire that killed eight Turks in Germany on March 10, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdağ said.

 “A Greek citizen saw the fire around 4:30 a.m. [local time] when it was first sparked and called the police and the fire department. He then stepped into the fire and saved three people, the grandmother and two children,” Bozdağ said. The man, Christos Kiroglou, is the manager of a nightclub located at the back of the building where the blaze occurred.

Seyfettin Soykan, the uncle of the children, said Kiroglou broke down the door and the mother was able to escape. However, she re-entered the room to save her 6-month-old baby and died of suffocation.


‘No sign of sabotage’ for now

There is no sign that arson motivated by xenophobia was behind a March 10 fire outside Stuttgart that killed eight Turks, German police announced yesterday in a statement that was corroborated by Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdağ.

Citing the ongoing investigation, Bozdağ said, “Initial data indicates there is no sign of sabotage, according to statements,” vocalizing hopes the fire wasn’t a result of arson.

“Prosecutors and police should not exclude any possibility. All the questions should be answered in an open and clear way that doesn’t leave any room for doubt,” he said.

Fire swept through an apartment building in southwestern Germany, killing seven children and a mother from a Turkish family who had migrated to Backnang, near Stuttgart, from the southeastern Turkish province of Adıyaman.

Merkel: 'deeply shaken'

German Chancellor Angela Merkel expressed her grief concerning the event. Merkel’s deputy spokesman, Georg Streiter, told reporters that she was deeply shaken by the news and that the Chancellery has offered all necessary assistance to local authorities. “The chancellor has no doubt that those responsible will not rest until the cause of the fire has been clarified.”

The Turkish Foreign Ministry issued a statement offering condolences to the families of the victims and calling for a quick and comprehensive investigation over the incident.

German police said they were investigating an oven in a flat on the first floor of the former leather factory in the town of Backnang near Stuttgart, according to Agence France-Presse. A fire from a stove is another possible cause for the blaze.

CHP sends delegation to Stuttgart

The main opposition party Republican People’s Party (CHP) sent a delegation to Germany to investigate the incident.

CHP Deputy Chair Faruk Loğoğlu, central executive board member Ali Kılıç and Kahramanmaraş deputy Durdu Özbolat visited the families of the victims and received a briefing from Turkey’s ambassador to Germany, Hüseyin Avni Karslıoğlu.

Bodies of victims to be brought to Turkey

Reports identified the deceased as Nazlı Özcan Soykan, 40, Hatice Soykan, 17, Yılmaz Soykan, 14, Abdülkadir Soykan, 8, İzzet Soykan, 7, Yasin Soykan, 6, Ahmet Soykan, 3, and 6-month-old Murat Soykan. The father was reportedly not at home when the fire broke out, while three other family members – grandmother Hatice Özcan, a 7-year-old and an uncle, Seyfettin Soykan – were rescued by firefighters. Turkey’s ambassador to Germany, Hüseyin Avni Karslıoğlu, announced that the victims’ bodies were expected to be brought to Turkey March.12.