Germans have been shocked by the discovery of a serial murder ring in the country. Germans of Turkish origin, who made up the bulk of the victims, have been outraged at government ineptitude.
A trio of neo-Nazi extremists is suspected of nine racially-motivated killings that took place over a decade. The trio eluded capture for all those years, though they are now also suspected of two bombings and the murder of a policewoman. It was only after two members of the group were found dead in late 2011 that police arrested a third suspect.
There are 3.5 million Turks in Germany, making it the country’s largest ethnic minority. They have not always felt welcome in their adopted country, and news reports chronicling investigators’ missteps in this case have only undermined Turkish faith in the German government.
For instance, authorities apparently never suspected right-wing extremists in the murders. Instead, they pursued leads tying the crimes to the Turkish mafia or to Turkish nationalist splinter groups. It was only after authorities searched the rubble of a bombed apartment used by the group that they discovered evidence linking neo-Nazis to the serial murders.
In reaction, more than fifty percent of Turkish youth believe that the German state protected or supported right-wing extremists, according to a survey led by the Migration and Politics Research Center at the Hacettepe University in Ankara. A third of those polled believe there has been “extreme” state support for the neo-Nazi group.
Despite the German parliament’s recent apology for the government’s handling of the cases, two-thirds believe that the German government tried to sweep the murders under the rug.
As authorities scramble to figure out whether the extremists had help from other right-wing groups operating inside Germany, they also need to patch up relations with German Turks.