NSU report ignores 'institutionalized racism' in Germany

The report refers to the "shameful failure" of German security forces to take seriously the threat of far-right groups.

NSU report ignores 'institutionalized racism' in Germany

World Bulletin/News Desk      

A German parliamentary commission investigating a series of neo-Nazi murders committed between 2000 and 2007 issued a report on Thursday, but it didn't meet the expectations of the Turkish-German minority as it fails to address the main issue of “institutionalized racism,” according to representatives of the co-plaintiffs and some humanitarian organizations. The report says there are "embarrassing failures and organizational faults," especially in intelligence-sharing among the police, prosecutors and Germany's federal intelligence agency. The report refers to the "shameful failure" of German security forces to take seriously the threat of far-right groups. The report also included a list of 47 suggestions for reform of the security agencies. Written by a parliamentary commission of enquiry in the German Bundestag, the nearly 1,400-page report followed a 19-month study by the commission, hearing testimony from 107 individuals, including suspects and experts, and examining 12,000 court files.

Eight Turkish citizens out of a total 10 people were killed in Germany between 2000 and 2007 in murders that remained unsolved until 2011, when the terrorist National Socialist Underground (NSU) was accidentally discovered to be behind the killings.

Representatives of co-plaintiffs at the NSU trial released a statement expressing their disappointment before the report was issued by the German parliamentary commission. In a joint statement, their lawyers said that after reading all the files and hearing witnesses, they believed that the systematic failure of the authorities' investigation was based on “institutionalized racism.”

Underlining that the problem must be clearly stated, one of the co-plaintiffs' lawyers, Mehmet Daimagüler, said: “Although the commission worked hard, the real issue wasn't addressed at the end of this hard work. There is talk of mistakes, but what we really have is a deliberate attitude [that led to the NSU murders],” and added, “A half-truth is not the truth.” Representatives also alleged that the murders could have been prevented.

The chairman of the Organization of Human Rights and Solidarity for Oppressed People (Mazlumder), Ahmet Faruk Ünsal, directed the same criticism at the commission's report and maintained that it failed to highlight the “institutionalized racism” operating in state institutions.

Against the views of these representatives, Sebastian Edathy, chairman of the committee, doesn't believe that the NSU case is concerned with racism in state institutions and said in the press conference announcing the report, “I don't think it is a case of institutionalized racism, but we do have racists working within the security authorities.”

Not defining the failures as “racism,” Öztürk Türkdoğan, chairman of the Human Rights Association (İHD), said that the biggest problem of the report is that it didn't mention “discrimination,” which is on the increase against foreigners, particularly Muslims, according to him.

“There is discrimination in Europe, which shows itself in legislation and investigations. This report should have revealed the institutionalized discrimination more clearly so that these murders do not happen again,” Türkdoğan told Today's Zaman.

One of the main speculations around the case concerned the German intelligence agency's possible backing and involvement in the killings. The investigation launched by German officials revealed possible links between Germany's federal intelligence service and the NSU. The head of Germany's national domestic intelligence agency stepped down amid criticism of the agency's investigations into the far-right group.

On the issue of possible cooperation between the NSU and Germany's federal intelligence service, Ünsal thinks that if there was no backing from government institutions, these crimes could not have been committed. “The ones involved in these killings did so with the help of institutions, and it is obvious that they were protected by institutional powers,” he told Today's Zaman, adding that “Germany should face the racism that lives under the surface of its institutions and clear it out.”

However, in the press conference of commission members, lawmakers did not state that they found any evidence of anyone within the security forces deliberately protecting the NSU or helping them avoid detection.

The report was also criticized for being too general and not declaring who bore the main responsibility for the attacks. Ünsal alleged that the report was written out of national concerns.

“This report is written from a statist perspective. The report's message can be summarized as 'We could have better intelligence.' If the main aim [of the report] was to secure justice, those responsible for the attacks should have been found in the investigation. However, its aim is to strengthen the government and its institutions,” he noted, implying that the commission served the German government's own interests.

Before the announcement of the report, Turkish officials expressed their expectations of the report to Today's Zaman, underlining that Turkey wants light to be shed on all aspects of this case. Although it had some concerns, Ankara was optimistic about the report and expected it to be objective and extensive since it was written by members of the German parliament.

The NSU was a previously unknown group that was discovered in late 2011. One NSU member, Beate Zschäpe, and four alleged supporters of the terrorist group stand accused of 10 murders at the Higher State Court of Munich in a trial that began on May 6. The inquiry revealed botched police investigations, a failure to consider racist motives for the killings between 2000 and 2007, a lack of communication between Germany's intelligence services and deficient monitoring of members of neo-Nazi groups.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 24 Ağustos 2013, 13:41