Turkey commemorates victims of Hanau attack
In February 2020, far-right extremist attacked 2 cafes in Hanau, Germany killing 9 people with migrant backgrounds
Turkey on Friday commemorated the victims of an attack by a far-right extremist in Hanau, Germany last year that claimed nine lives.
“We remember our citizens and other victims who lost their lives in a racist attack last year in Germany’s Hanau city. We share the pain of grieved families,” the Foreign Ministry said in a written statement.
“In order to show our solidarity with the victims of racism and xenophobia, our Deputy [Foreign] Minister Yavuz Selim Kiran will attend the commemoration ceremony to be held in Hanau,” it said, adding that he will also meet the families of victims and Turkish citizens.
It highlighted that the attack showed it was high time to tackle racism, xenophobia, and Islamophobia more seriously and effectively and to strengthen international cooperation in this regard.
“We expect this attack to be clarified in all aspects and the investigation to be concluded swiftly and fairly,” the ministry urged.
It also said a lesson should be derived from the incident and great importance should be attached to prevent racism and xenophobia, which threaten social peace and security.
“Hereby, we remind once again that far-right and populist political discourses that foster racism, xenophobia and Islamophobia in Europe should be avoided. We invite all European countries to protect the principles of peace and coexistence by not remaining silent in the face of this threat,” the ministry said.
It reiterated that Turkey will continue bilateral and international cooperation to fight such separatist movements.
Germany has witnessed growing racism and xenophobia in recent years, fueled by the propaganda of far-right and anti-Muslim groups.
In 2019, right-wing extremists killed a pro-refugee politician in Kassel and attacked a synagogue in Halle, raising alarms over far-right terror in the country.
In February 2020, a far-right extremist stormed two cafes in Hanau and shot nine people with migrant backgrounds dead.
‘These attacks must end now’
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu shared a video message on Twitter and remembered the victims.
In the video with German subtitles, Cavusoglu said over 900 Islamophobic attacks occurred in Germany last year alone.
"As the Foreign Ministry, we have launched a new initiative. We will announce activities and discourses including Islamophobia, xenophobia, and racism as a report to the whole world each year," Cavusoglu said, noting that such incidents increased during the COVID-19 pandemic.
"We are clearly saying that these attacks must end now," he said.
Cavusoglu added that covering up the attacks in the case of the National Socialist Underground (NSU), a far-right terror group, and lightening the sentences are unacceptable.
The NSU terror group has killed ten people, including eight Turks, between 2000 and 2007.
Until 2011 – when the German public first heard about the group following a bank robbery – German police and intelligence services ruled out any far-right motive for the murders. Instead, they treated immigrant families as suspects in the case, also harassing them for alleged connections with mafia groups and drug traffickers.
The NSU's only known surviving member Beate Zschaepe was sentenced to life in prison in 2018 by a Munich court after a five-year-long trial.
- 'Europe should not become captive to racism'
"It is of great importance to conclude the probe into the Hanau attack fairly and swiftly. Otherwise, this diseased mindset will threaten not only Muslims and foreigners but everyone," Cavusoglu said.
"Europe should not become captive to populist, racist and anti-migrant discourses," he warned.
Recalling German Chancellor Angela Merkel's remarks of "racism is a poison, hatred is a poison," Cavusoglu said the antidote of that poison is in politicians' hands with common sense.
The issue can only be solved with cooperation and decisive steps, he said and reiterated that Turkey always stands with its citizens living abroad.
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