Attacks on Turkish communities in Germany reportedly on the rise | News | DW | 20.03.2018
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Attacks on Turkish communities in Germany reportedly on the rise

There have been dozens of attacks so far this year on Turkish mosques and restaurants in Germany — a sharp rise from last year's figures. The Interior Ministry said Turkey's offensive in Afrin has inflamed tensions.

As tensions rise over the Turkish government's offensive in Afrin, the violence is spilling over in Germany's Kurdish and Turkish communities.

German police have logged a total of 37 attacks carried out by suspected pro-Kurdish activists so far this year, reported newspapers by the Funke media group in Germany on Tuesday. The attacks targeted Turkish mosques, restaurants and cultural organizations.

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Germany: Attacks on mosques and Turkish properties

There were 13 such attacks for the entirety of last year, according to figures provided by the Interior Ministry. The figures do not include attacks carried out by suspected far-right extremists.

"Germany has long been a mirror and sounding board for Turkish-Kurdish conflicts in view of the large numbers of people with Turkish backgrounds living here," an Interior Ministry spokeswoman told the Funke media group newspapers.

"This is especially true considering the backdrop of current events in and around Afrin," she added.

The spokeswoman emphasized, however, that the figures for this year and for last year are still provisional and may rise or fall.

Read moreAre German imams praying for Turkey to beat Kurds in Syria?

Arson and vandalism

In the past few weeks, there have been numerous arson attacks, acts of vandalism and other attacks on Turkish institutions in Germany.

In one incident, three youths were seen throwing a Molotov cocktail through the window of a mosque in Berlin. In the small south western German town of Lauffen, attackers hit a Turkish-linked mosque with explosive devices.

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Kurds in Germany look anxiously to Afrin

Communities in Germany should expect further attacks, Social Democrat (SPD) parliamentarian and deputy head of the foreign policy, defense and human rights commitees Rolf Mützenich told DW. 

"It was also the case in the past that domestic Turkish conflicts were also noticable in Germany," Mützenich told DW. "Clearly the political atmosphere in these communities is such that the tensions are on the rise again."

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Humanitarian crisis deepens in Afrin and eastern Ghouta

On January 20, Turkey launched a military operation against Afrin, a Kurdish-majority area of northern Syria. Armed with German-made tanks and with the help of its allied groups in Syria, Turkish troops seized Afrin on Sunday.

The offensive sparked large protests by Kurdish communities in Germany.

Additional reporting by Kersten Knipp.

rs/kl (AFP, dpa, epd)

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