Turkish foreign minister to visit Germany for Solingen arson attack commemoration

Turkish foreign minister to visit Germany for Solingen arson attack commemoration

Turkish foreign minister to visit Germany for Solingen arson attack commemoration

Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu is set to attend a commemoration ceremony on May 29 marking the 25th anniversary of a 1993 racist arson attack in Germany’s Solingen city.

The foreign minister was invited by Armin Laschet, the minister-president of North Rhine-Westphalia.

Çavuşoğlu was expected to deliver a speech at the state assembly, but some parliamentarians at the assembly objected to him delivering a speech due to the upcoming elections in Turkey.

In a comment to the Westdeutsche Zeitung newspaper, Laschet criticized the restriction and said barring him from giving a speech is “discreditable.”

On May 29, 1993, four people aged between 16 and 23 set ablaze the house of a Turkish family in Solingen, North Rhine-Westphalia, killing five people and injuring 14. Three assailants were sentenced to 10 years in jail while the other convict was handed 15 years imprisonment.

The visit comes amid a recent spat between Turkey and Germany after the opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), which the Turkish government accuses of being a political front for the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), held a rally in Cologne on May 26.

Almost a thousand of their supporters gathered in Neumarkt square in Cologne, a spokesman for the German police told state-run Anadolu Agency.

The Turkish Foreign Ministry on May 26 accused Germany of making a “double standard” decision to allow the HDP rally but previously preventing ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) politicians from campaigning there.

“This two-faced approach, which we condemn strongly, cannot be reconciled with democracy, the fight against terrorism and expectations of normalization in Turkish-Germany relations,” the ministry said in the statement.

Bureaucrats to hold political consultations

On the day of Çavuşoğlu’s visit to Solingen, Turkey and Germany will hold political consultations.

In a written statement, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said political consultations will be held under the co-chairmanship of the ministry’s Undersecretary Ümit Yalçın and German State Secretary of Foreign Ministry Andreas Michaelis in Ankara on May 29.

“During the consultations, bilateral relations between the two countries as well as regional and global issues of common interest will be discussed,” said the statement.

Çavuşoğlu to meet his German counterpart

“We commemorate with respect our five citizens who lost their lives as a result of the arson attack carried out by a group of racists in Solingen, Germany on May 29, 1993 on the 25th anniversary of this tragic attack,” a Turkish Foreign Ministry statement said on May 28.

“We hope that these kinds of tragedies will not happen again. However, we observe with concern that racism, xenophobia and Islamophobia are on the rise although a quarter of a century has passed since the Solingen tragedy,” said the ministry.

“On this occasion, we would like to emphasize once again that effective measures against racism, discrimination and Islamophobia, which are the common problems of humanity, should be taken and particularly politicians and the media should use a prudent language,” read the statement.

During his visit, Çavuşoğlu is also expected to meet with Foreign Affairs Federal Minister Heiko Maas and Laschet.