Turks, not Jews targeted in Solingen fire: German diplomats

In Germany, Turks often appear to be the target of fires started by neo-Nazis.

Turks, not Jews targeted in Solingen fire: German diplomats

World Bulletin/News Desk

On the 20th anniversary of the deadly Solingen fire that killed five Turkish people in Germany, the executive director of the American-Jewish Committee (AJC), David Harris, said that German diplomats called him immediately after the tragedy occurred to tell him that it was Turks, not Jews, who had been targeted in the attack.

Turkish people were targeted in the western German city of Solingen in 1993 when a group of extreme-right neo-Nazis set fire to the homes of Turkish families in the town of Solingen, killing five members of one Turkish family.

Fourteen members of the same family were injured in the attack.

Turkish press spoke to Harris in New York on the 20th anniversary of the tragedy. Harris said German diplomats in New York called him immediately after the fire broke out. “The German diplomats in the US immediately called our institution. I talked to him [one of the diplomats]. He told us, ‘Please don't worry. There are not anti-Semitic attacks. A home of a Turkish family was attacked',” the AJC executive director stated.

In response, Harris said: “Mr. Diplomat, you don't understand. If five Turkish women can be killed only because they are Muslim -- they are ‘other': they dress differently, they talk differently and they eat differently -- then who is safe?”

The AJC executive director later traveled to Köln to attend the funeral of the fire victims.

In Germany, Turks often appear to be the target of fires started by neo-Nazis. A fire in March of this year at an apartment building in southwest Germany left eight Turks dead, seven of them children. In August of 2012, three children from a Turkish family died in an apartment fire in Dortmund.

In another deadly incident, nine Turks, including five children, were killed in a blaze in an apartment building in the western German city of Ludwigshafen in February of 2008, which is considered the largest post-World War II fire in the city's history.

On Tuesday, the Federation of the People's Association of Social Democrats (HDF) issued a statement denouncing the Solingen fire and calling on German authorities to “do justice in connection with the fire.” “We do not want to forget. We do not want to ignore. We do not want to remain silent. Many people in this town mourn over the May 29, 1993 act of arson in which five Turkish girls and women were killed. We want to live together like circles that intersect,” read the statement.

According to the statement, the arsonists were set free after spending 10 to 15 years in prison. “We hope that those who killed five of our people are living with a guilty conscience,” it said, also calling on German political figures to openly state that all foreign members of the German community are indeed part of the German nation and culture.

Last Mod: 29 Mayıs 2013, 10:13
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