Turkey welcomes media access to neo-Nazi trial in Germany

Turkey welcomes media access to neo-Nazi trial in Germany

ANKARA - Agence France-Presse
Turkey welcomes media access to neo-Nazi trial in Germany

Mayor of Kassel Bertram Hilgen (3rd L) and Ismail Yozgat (L) the father of Halit Yozgat (on poster) who was killed by the National Socialist Underground (NSU) group, observe a minutes silence during a ceremony in Kassel April 6. AFP photo

Ankara on April 13 welcomed a decision by Germany's top court to allow Turkish media seats at a neo-Nazi trial as a "step in the right direction" in a case that strained ties between the countries.

A day eearlier, Germany's Federal Constitutional Court ordered that foreign media "with a particular connection to the victims" be allowed access to the most high-profile neo-Nazi murder trial of the country's post-war era.

"We see it as a step on the right direction," a Turkish foreign ministry official said on condition of anonymity. A woman believed to have been at the heart of a neo-Nazi cell accused of killing 10 people including eight ethnic Turks and a Greek man between 2000 and 2007 will sit in the dock from April 17.

The court in Munich in southern Germany sparked controversy when it handed out media slots for the trial on a first-come, first-served basis, which ended up shutting out Turkish reporters and most international media.

Turkey now hopes to see the court review its earlier decision and allow Turkish reporters "to follow the trial in the courtroom," the foreign ministry official added. Turkish daily newspaper Sabah had filed a lawsuit to challenge the lack of access, which Turkish officials blasted as "insensitivity" on the part of the Munich court.

Beate Zschaepe, the sole survivor of a trio accused of going on a xenophobic murder spree, goes on trial alongside four alleged accomplices.