Two killed in Turkish home in German fire

Two killed in Turkish home in German fire

COLOGNE - Anatolia News Agency
Two killed in Turkish home in German fire

The building in the German city of Cologne is seen after the fire was extinguished. AA photo

A fire broke out March 30 in a building inhabited by Turks in the German city of Cologne, killing two people, a German man and his Albanian girlfriend. The owner of the building, Yusuf Kızıltaş, is of Turkish origin.

The cause of the fire, which injured 13, has not yet been revealed, but Turkey’s Cologne consulate Yonca Sunel and President of the Union of European Turkish Democrats (UETD) Süleyman Çelik, who went to the scene, were attempting to obtain information from the German authorities.

Authorities from Köln Police Office told Sunel, during a 20-minute meeting, that a man and a woman died in the fire but that neither the cause nor the identities of the victims could yet be determined. Witnesses said Mehmet Ali Canbolat, of Turkish origin, was the first to intervene in the incident, attempting to extinguish the fire with a 50-meter-long hose before firefighters arrived at the scene.

Hard to understand the fires: Deputy PM

Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdağ today said that an investigation was underway into the fire.

Speaking to reporters during a meeting of his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in the province of Afyonkarahisar, Bozdağ stressed that the German federal government and state governments had a responsibility to fully investigate the fire incidents in which Turks became victims.

Afyonkarahisar was the city where the eight Turkish citizens, who perished in a fire in Backnang last month, were buried.

A fire that swept through an apartment building in the town of Backnang, near Stuttgart on March 10 killed seven children and a mother from a Turkish family.

German authorities later announced that there was no indication that arson motivated by xenophobia was behind the fire.

“I cannot stop thinking. How could the fires in Germany detect the homes of Turkish people? I find it hard to understand the fires in which Turkish citizens were killed. Is it only the homes of Turkish people where electrical sockets malfunction? Do the electric sockets choose the homes of these people to cause problems?” he said.
Bozdağ also said that he feel obliged to ask such questions when German authorities say the neo-Nazis were not involved in these incidents after only five minutes of inspection. “I’m not saying such a thing happened but how can they make statements after only five minutes of investigation?” Bozdağ asked.

The deputy prime minister called on the German government and state governments to carefully investigate the fires and determine the real causes of such incidents. “If these examinations are done by presupposition like ‘Neo-Nazis are not responsible’, it could cause huge mistakes. In the past, it has been done,” he added.



Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu called his German counterpart Guido Westerwelle on March 30, to express concern over the German court decision not to allow any Turkish journalists to cover the trial of neo-Nazi’s who are accused of killing eight Turks and one Greek, Turkish official sources confirmed to the Hürriyet Daily News. Davutoğlu said that he was aware that this was not a government, but a court decision, yet it did not change the fact that it was a restriction on Turkish media that Turkish public opinion did not feel comfortable with. Westerwelle said that he also was not comfortable with the situation but that his government was trying to find ways to overcome the problem.

Just weeks before the highly anticipated hearing opens, a Munich court sparked criticism last week for failing to guarantee the Turkish media access to cover a neo-Nazi murder trial. Representatives of the victims and of Germany’s large Turkish community, along with many Turkish officials, denounced what they regarded as a “scandal” over the court’s decision.