The authorities in eastern Germany are facing scrutiny over whether any official protection was given to a trio of neo-Nazis who murdered members of minority groups – mostly Turks but also one German police officer – between 2000 and 2007.
One suspect is in custody, a woman. The group is also suspected of a 2004 nailbombing in an immigrant part of the city of Cologne. Two male members of the far-right group called the ‘National Socialist Underground’ were found dead this month — apparently both suicides.
The possibility that the killers benefited from sympathy or dysfunction somehow connected to the German information services is being investigated. All unsolved cases with a possible racist motive since 1998 have been reopened.
Complaints have amplified that Germany has been blind to the violent potential of far-right extremism for years, and up to the highest political levels, Germans have been shocked by the crimes and how they went unsolved for so long.
To discuss the unpunished killings of immigrant store owners in Germany for years, euronews spoke to Turkish-born lawyer and MP in Germany’s Green party Memet Kılıç. The interview follows.
Sigrid Ulrich euronews: Mr Kılıç: what’s going on?
Memet Kılıç Green party MP: This is a scandal. If our security services did not know that a terrorist group was active all over Germany for more than 10 years killing at least 10 people and robbing at least 14 banks, this is a scandal. But if the security services knew and pretended they did not know, this is an even bigger scandal.
The image of Germany on the international scene was always more important for Germany than the fight against terror or the fight against right-wing radicals or the protection of the victims. I have seen that the security services excluded political background when investigating the scene of a crime. In 2008 when a house in which immigrants lived was set on fire in Ludwigshafen, the State services actively ignored looking at any possible right-wing background implications. I experienced that directly.
euronews: Could it just have been wishful thinking?
Kılıç: Your are right. That’s it. Germany wanted to keep Nazi crimes low in the statistics, so that the world would not think that Nazis continue to be active in Germany. But this was not the truth. Nazis have always terrorised immigrants in Germany – not only in the East also in the West. There have many structures for it. And now there is this move to ban the far-right National Democratic Party NPD, which to my mind is nothing other than a smoke screen. They want a cover-up. We need the facts out in the open.
euronews: You think that banning the NPD is a diversion.
Kılıç: The constitutional court already said eight years ago that the links between undercover-police and the secret service are beyond comprehension. We do not know who is responsible for what, whether the secret service or the extreme right party. That’s why we cannot ban the NPD. And if we try to ban it, it might take another three years. A ban also might fail. If that happened, the extreme right would once again have a nice document saying that everything is all right. We do not need that. We need a parliamentary commission that publicly tries to shine a light on this scandal.