Neo-Nazi ban stirs outrage in Germany

Neo-Nazi ban stirs outrage in Germany

BERLIN - Agence France-Presse
A German court sparked angry criticism yesterday for failing to guarantee the Turkish media access to cover an upcoming neo-Nazi murder trial in which most of the victims were Turkish.

Three weeks before the highly-anticipated hearing opens, representatives of the 10 victims and Germany’s large Turkish community denounced what it called a “scandal” by the Munich court. Beate Zschaepe, a woman believed to have been at the heart of National Socialist Underground, accused of killing 10 people included eight Turks between 2000 and 2007 goes on trial on April 17 in a case that stunned Germany. The Munich superior regional court on March 25 said the 50 reserved courtroom seats for the media had been allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. 

Kenan Kolat, chairman of the Turkish Community of Germany told the daily Berliner Zeitung that he could not accept that Turkish journalists had no guaranteed spots to cover the trial. “That is a scandal and a disgrace. I call on the court and also on politicians to find a solution. I won’t let up,” he said.

An advocate for the NSU victims, Barbara John, said it was "not only desirable but important" that Turkish media can report the proceedings.

"Many people of Turkish origin in Germany also still read Turkish newspapers or watch Turkish television," she told the Mitteldeutsche Zeitung.

The head of the German Federation of Journalists called for access for Turkish and Greek news agencies, and the Foreign Press Association has also protested.