Turkish paper to sue for access to German neo-Nazi trial | News | DW | 04.04.2013
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Turkish paper to sue for access to German neo-Nazi trial

There is no end in sight to a controversy over the method of media accreditation for the trial of neo-Nazis accused of a series of murders in Germany. A Turkish paper plans to take its complaint to Germany's top court.

The editor-in-chief of Turkey's Sabah newspaper told public broadcaster ZDF on Wednesday that the daily planned to file an application for an injunction with the Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe aimed at forcing a Munich court to give it a reserved seat for the trial, which is to begin on April 17.

"We believe that the freedom of the press and freedom of information also applies to Turkish-speaking journalists here in Germany and we too want to follow this case live." Ismael Erel said. "Trials must be public, even for people of Turkish descent in Germany."

Erel added that the formal application for the injunction had not yet been made. Another Turkish paper, Hurriyet was also reported to be considering a legal challenge.

Ongoing controversy

Munich's Upper Regional Court has been coming under increased pressure over its "first, come, first served" policy on handing out accreditation to cover the trial of several members of the National Socialist Underground (NSU), right-wing extremist group accused of the murders of 10 people, mainly immigrant businessmen over a period of several years.

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Turkish media press for trial access

No Turkish media have been granted accreditation despite the fact that eight of the victims were of Turkish origin, and interest in the case is particularly high in Turkey.

So far all efforts to defuse the row have failed to produce a solution satisfactory to all sides. Some German media outlets that did receive accreditation, have offered to give up their seats for their Turkish colleagues.

However, it is not clear whether this will work in practice and the court has remained steadfast in its refusal to change the rules to meet the Turkish journalists' demands.

On Thursday, the Turkish ambassador to Germany weighed in on the issue, telling ZDF that he planned to attend the trial in person even though no seat has been reserved for him, either.

"It is only natural that I will be with the victims' families there and accompany them on this difficult path," Avni Karslioglu said. "It is my job and of course my duty to be there."

Karslioglu called for more sensitivity from the Munich court in how it is handing the situation, but at the same time he conceded that in legal terms it had done nothing wrong. He also played down the suggestion that the issue had damaged relations between Ankara and Berlin.

The Constitutional Court already has one legal challenge to deal with related to the NSU trial. Earlier in the week a Turkish resident of Germany filed a complaint over a requirement that non-journalists who want to follow the trial from inside the courtroom will first have to allow officials to make photocopies of their identification papers.

pfd/hc (dpa, (AFP)

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