No cover up by officials in neo-Nazi murders: Commission head

No cover up by officials in neo-Nazi murders: Commission head

No cover up by officials in neo-Nazi murders: Commission head

A German delegation hold a series of talks with Turkish officials on their findings about NSU inquiry. The commission will finalize its report in September. AA photo

German institutions and officials neither assisted nor covered up the neo-Nazi murders between 2000 and 2006, according to the findings of the Bundestag’s inquiry commission so far, commission head Sebastian Edathy said on Feb. 15.

“A question that has been asked very much by Turkish officials during our meetings was whether German officials assisted or turned a blind eye to that terrorist group. Our investigation is still under way but we haven’t found any clue up to now that there was intentional cover-up or assistance,” Edathy told reporters.

A German delegation led by Edathy held a press conference following two-day talks with Turkish officials including Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdağ, Justice Minister Sadullah Ergin, Deputy Foreign Minister Naci Koru and Kemal Yurnaç, the president of the Directorate of Overseas Turks under the Prime Ministry (YTB), as well as a number of parliamentarians.

This was the second visit to Turkey by Edathy so far, after his visit in November. This time, six commission members from all parties paid a visit to Ankara to give an updated report about their findings.

The commission started its work in January 2012, after 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 in various cities between 2000 and 2006.

The series of murders began in Nuremberg in 2000, and 10 people in total - eight Turks, one Greek, and one German police officer - were killed up to 2006.

Stressing that there’s an obvious negligence of state institutions over the murders, Edathy said the threat of far-right criminal organizations had long been underestimated in Germany and that the police had misinterpreted the murders as an internal feud between immigrant shop-owners.

“Chancellor [Angela] Merkel recently said the negligence of state institutions over the murders was very shameful. We, as the commission members, totally agree with her,” Edathy said.

During the press conference, all six commission members took the floor and spoke about their work.
The mentality of the German police should be completely changed, Wolfgang Wieland, a commission member from the Greens, said. “They approached the murders with the prejudice that ‘There cannot be racist murders in our society.’ That’s horrible. The whole mentality of the security units should change.”

The commission will finalize and make public its report in early September, commission members said.

The trial of the only surviving NSU member Beate Zschäpe, who is the suspect of the murders, and four other suspects who allegedly aided the NSU members will begin on April 17 in the Munich State Court. Members of the Turkish Parliament’s Human Rights Examination Commission will also follow the trial.