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Ankara attacks stir up fear among Turks in Germany

October 12, 2015

The leader of Germany's Green Party has cautioned politicians to avoid any endorsement of Turkey's president after the devastating attacks in Ankara. There are fears that further clashes could reach Germany.

Cem Özdemir
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/B. Pedersen

Cem Özdemir, co-chairman of Germany's Green Party, accused Turkey's president Recep Tayyip Erdogan of deliberately fuelling tensions across the country in the wake of Saturday's twin attacks in the capital Ankara, which killed almost 100 people. Özdemir further accused the Turkish president of having no interest in reaching a ceasefire agreement with Kurdish insurgents.

"Erdogan knows that if the November 1 elections were to take place on a straight-forward manner and on a democratic platform, he would once again not manage to gain a majority vote," the Greens politician told the daily regional newspaper "Passauer Neue Presse".

"It is evident that he is working hard to prevent orderly and fair elections from taking place," he added.

Özdemir: Erdogan unfit head-of-state

Özdemir, a veteran politician of Turkish origins, later said that Germany should not take any action until the elections, which might be interpreted as support of Erdogan. He also demanded that any talks regarding Turkey's ascendency to the EU should be put on the backburner.

"Someone, who is willing to plunge his own country into such chaos in a bid to avoid another defeat at the polls and the subsequent prospect of being held accountable for his actions, is not a reliable partner," Özdemir said.

Protests against Erdogan
Thousands have taken to the streets in Istanbul and other cities in Turkey, protesting against Erdogan's leadershipImage: Reuters

"Someone, who is happy to condone scores of deaths among his own citizens, police force, and military, cannot deserve serving as head-of-state."

No 'dirty deal' to curb refugees

The Green Party co-chair added that Europe should not expect to find a competent partner in Erdogan's Turkey to help tackling the ongoing refugee crisis either. He advised against settling for a "dirty deal with an authoritarian ruler," saying that any compromise with Erdogan would only exacerbate the situation in the Middle East.

"The only thing that Erdogan can accomplish by fighting against the Kurds in northern Iraq and Syria is to strengthen IS while aggravating the causes for migration," Özdemir explain referring to the self-declared "Islamic State" ("IS").

Blame game

The Turkish government has accused IS of being the masterminds behind the attack among other suspects, but the pro-Kurdish Democratic Peoples' Party (HDP) said that a series of shortcomings on part of the government implied a certain level of government complicity. The government, in turn, has been campaigning against the HDP, saying it didn't distance itself from the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which the Turkish military has been fighting for over 30 years.

After uniting a number of pro-minority movements under one party, the HDP had managed to gain 13.1 percent of the vote in elections earlier this year, resulting in a pro-Kurdish party entering parliament for the first time and with 80 seats. New elections were called for November 1 after Erdogan's Justice and Development Party (AKP) failed to build a coalition government.

Politicians including Cem Özdemir have warned that amid the mutual accusations further attacks could come ahead of the elections.

Turks in Germany

Gökay Sofuoglu, the leader of the Turkish Community, an organization in Germany dedicated to addressing the needs of the 3-million-strong Turkish diaspora, also warned of further attacks and violence spilling over - all the way to Germany.

Sofuoglu said there could be severe clashes between Kurds and Turkish nationalists in Germany: "There could be a further escalation of matters even in Germany, simply judging by the way that things are going in Turkey right now."

"This goes back all the way to when Erdogan first became president, leading to a great deal of polarization among Turks in Germany," he told the daily regional newspaper "Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger" on Monday.

Sofuoglu said that PKK members had repeatedly called for retaliatory attacks, organizing marches without getting municipal clearance first. However, he also stressed that radicalized members in both communities remained in minority numbers.

Sofuoglu also urged authorities to monitor social media for extremists.

ss/kms (AFP, dpa, epd)

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