The German Constitutional Court has ruled that Turkish journalists must be granted accreditation for the trial of the far-right NSU group. Eight of the victims were of Turkish origin. The trial starts next week.
Germany's Constitutional Court on Friday ordered the upper regional court (OLG) in Munich to reserve "a suitable number of seats for representatives of foreign media with particular consideration to the victims of the alleged crimes."
The neo-Nazi cell, the National Socialist Underground (NSU), is accused of killing 10 people - eight with Turkish heritage, one from Greece and a German policewoman - between 2000 and 2007. The group was only uncovered in 2011. The sole surviving alleged core member, a 38-year-old woman, and four alleged accomplices are facing trial. The case is scheduled to begin next Wednesday.
The court in Munich had until Friday resisted pressure to allow Turkish or Greek media into the court. There were 50 available places for reporters, and these were allocated on a "first come, first served" basis. No Turkish or Greek media outlets were among the first 50 to apply.
Now, with the top German court ordering a change of tack, at least some Greek and Turkish reporters will have to be granted a place at the trial.
Several politicians, most recently Turkish President Abdullah Gül, had called for this situation to change, along with Turkish and German news organizations, journalists' unions like the DJV and other groups.
Gül lent his voice to the ongoing debate about journalist representation at one of Germany's highest-profile post-war court cases, when Economy Minister Philipp Rösler visited Ankara on Thursday. Rösler was reported as saying that the more open the trial, the better it would be for Germany.
The federal government had voiced its "hopes" for a "sensitive" solution to the situation, albeit simultaneously stressing that the decision must lie with the independent German judiciary.
msh/jr (dpa, Reuters)