There are already more than 30 Turks killed in racist attacks in Germany, where Merkel herself has acknowledged that the “poison of racism” has ignited in German society.
5 of the 9 killed in the racist attack perpetrated by an extremist with ultra-right ideology in the city of Hanau, west of Germany, are of Turkish nationality, as confirmed by the Turkish ambassador to Berlin, Ali Kemal Aydın.
Upon hearing the news, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan warned that his country would follow closely the investigation of the tragic events in Germany, where the rise of the extreme right has led in recent years to an exponential increase in the attacks of all kinds against religious minorities and immigrants.
For his part, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that while the circumstances of the attack have yet to be investigated, the shooting seems to be more evidence of the “poison” of racism in German society, ensuring that it will stand firm against those who want to divide the country. . “This hatred exists in our society, and is responsible for too many crimes,” said Merkel, who promised a thorough investigation into what happened.
The latest information points to a 43-year-old German citizen as responsible for the attacks on Wednesday night against a smoking bar of shisha (water pipe) and a cafe frequented by Turkish immigrants in the center of Hanau; to go to the latter, the attacker traveled the 2.5 kilometers that separated him from the first premises and there he shot at the clients again, claiming more victims.
More than 30 Turks killed in Germany for racist attacks
The event, which has been condemned by numerous organizations and associations in Germany, including the Central Council of Muslims, the Confederation of Kurdish Associations of Germany, and the Central Council of the Jews, has shocked the small town of Hanau, a municipality of about 100,000 inhabitants located just 20 kilometers from Frankfurt.
The Turkish ambassador in Berlin told the Turkish public television network TRT that with these last ones they are already more than 30 the Turks killed in racist attacks in Germany since the 1990s. Aydın identified one of the deceased as Gökhan Gültekin, a man of 37 years whose family is from the Turkish province of Ağrı, and was about to get married.
Aydın appealed to the entire Turkish community in Germany to remain united and in solidarity in the face of such attacks. “German politicians also have a great responsibility (for what happened),” he said. “Taking the necessary measures, the strongest and strictest (to avoid attacks like this one), is important for Germany’s security and future,” he insisted.
“He went in shooting people in the head”
One of the wounded in the shooting, identified as Muhammet, told the Turkish media how he had lived the attack: “I heard 5 or 6 shots outside, and then I saw the man entering (at the premises). I was eating together with other clients, about 12 people. In the other place he killed everyone,” said Muhammet, who was in the Arena Cafe, one of the raided establishments.
“He was shooting people in the head, then he walked towards us and started shooting. I tried to hide behind a wall, but he shot me in the arm. I fell to the ground, and then someone else fell on me. I saw that I was lying on someone, and I saw a hole in his neck. He said, ‘Brother, I can’t feel my tongue.’ I told him to recite the shahada (the profession of faith in Islam that is recited before he dies). We shouted and said to everybody to recite the shahada, but everything was quite,” he said.
The author of the massacres, identified by the German newspaper Bild as Tobias R., was later found next to the body of his 72-year-old mother, which he also killed before committing suicide himself. The police are now investigating a web page with xenophobic and racist content that the murderer could be the author; he also expressed his ideology, of extreme right and deeply anti-immigrant, in a confession he left written.
In this confession, written in the form of a letter, the attacker speaks of the “need to destroy certain groups whose expulsion from Germany is no longer possible,” according to the transcript published by the German press, which has also reported the existence of a video in which Tobias R. would claim responsibility for the massacres.
Turkey urges the countries of Europe to face racism
In a statement issued after the attack, the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs urged European countries to stand together and firmly face xenophobia and racism to curb such attacks.
“The time has come for all the countries of Europe to unite against racism and xenophobia and speak with one voice … The atrocious attack last night in Hanau, Germany, is a serious manifestation of the growing racism and hostility against Islam,” said the ministry statement, underlining the need for such incidents not to be considered as simple isolated and individual events.
“It is time to end these attacks. If not, racism and xenophobia will reach more serious levels, and lead us to a dangerous place,” Ankara warned in the statement, adding that the most effective way to combat racism, xenophobia and Islamophobia is mainly based on avoiding populist discourses based on prejudices and taking effective measures against them.
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