Germany, Turkey mark 25th anniversary of racist attack in Solingen

German leaders and Turkey’s foreign minister have come together to commemorate the 25th anniversary of a firebombing by right-wing extremists in which five Turks were killed in Germany.

The May 29, 1993, firebombing in Solingen, north of Cologne, was the deadliest in a series of racist attacks that raised international concerns following German unification in 1990. Two Turkish women and three girls died when fire raged through their building.

Chancellor Angela Merkel and Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu are to address an event on May 29 at the state governor’s office in Dusseldorf along with 75-year-old Mevlüde Genç, who lost two daughters, two granddaughters, and a niece in the blaze.

Çavuşoğlu and his German counterpart Heiko Maas are set to speak later at a memorial in Solingen itself.

Turkish FM attends ceremony but not allowed to address crowds

The foreign minister was invited by Armin Laschet, the minister-president of North Rhine-Westphalia.

Çavuşoğlu was expected to deliver a speech at the state assembly, but some parliamentarians at the assembly objected to him delivering a speech due to the upcoming elections in Turkey.

In a comment to the Westdeutsche Zeitung newspaper, Laschet criticized the restriction and said barring him from giving a speech is “discreditable.”

Visit comes at a tense time

The visit comes amid a recent spat between Turkey and Germany after the opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), which the Turkish government accuses of being a political front for the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), held a rally in Cologne on May 26.

Almost a thousand of their supporters gathered in Neumarkt square in Cologne, a spokesman for the German police told state-run Anadolu Agency.

The Turkish Foreign Ministry on May 26 accused Germany of making a “double standard” decision to allow the HDP rally but previously preventing ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) politicians from campaigning there.

“This two-faced approach, which we condemn strongly, cannot be reconciled with democracy, the fight against terrorism and expectations of normalization in Turkish-Germany relations,” the ministry said in the statement.

Bureaucrats to hold political consultations

On the day of Çavuşoğlu’s visit to Solingen, Turkey and Germany will hold political consultations.

In a written statement, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said political consultations will be held under the co-chairmanship of the ministry’s Undersecretary Ümit Yalçın and German State Secretary of Foreign Ministry Andreas Michaelis in Ankara on May 29.

“During the consultations, bilateral relations between the two countries as well as regional and global issues of common interest will be discussed,” said the statement.


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