Yesterday was the final day of the National Socialist Underground (NSU) trial in Germany. The neo-Nazi group has been accused of killing 10 people, including eight Turks. The trial that went on for five years is expected to be finalized on July 11, 2018.
Our readers need to be reminded that the NSU terror group started its serial murders on Sept. 11, 2000 and killed its last victim on April 6, 2006. Eight out of the 10 victims were Turkish while one was Greek. All of the victims were shot with the same weapon. Since most of the victims were small business owners, including döner kebab vendors, the serial killings were dubbed the "Kebab Murders" by the media. This derogatory term was rightfully called the worst word of the year in 2011.
Referring to the murders perpetrated with racist motives with a name laden with racist biases was scandalous. On April 26, 2007, a female police officer was killed in Heilbronn, Germany. Four years after the incident, it was revealed that the NSU committed this murder, which led Germany to finally noticing the terror group; it was eventually found that the motive of the murder was racism.
Following a failed bank robbery on Nov. 4, 2011, two members of the NSU were found dead whereas the third member, a woman named Beate Zschäpe, was apprehended.
Eventually, a lawsuit was opened against the NSU in the Munich Higher Regional Court on May 6, 2013 on the charges of killing 10 people, organizing 15 robberies and two bomb attacks. Ongoing for around five years now, more than 430 hearings have so far been held as part of the trial.
Beate Zschäpe, the surviving member of the terror group, is the main defendant of the trial, for whom prosecutors demand a life sentence. Four other people have also been tried for aiding the group with sentences of three to 12 years being demanded.
However, the Turkish people living in Germany and a substantial part of German society are not pleased with the progress of the trial as they think that only sentencing one person won't be sufficient because many other aspects that might be linked to the NSU are still in the dark, although German intelligence units are revealed to have monitored the NSU.
What is especially scandalous is that intelligence officers were near some of the crime scenes when the murders were being perpetrated. Neither the parliamentary investigation commission founded by the federal government on the subject nor the court has taken any step with regard to this. So far, the German intelligence units refuse to give information clearly and easily. I wonder why certain groups in Germany that have been giving lectures to Turkey on the requirements of a state of law remain silent in the face of this.
Speaking at the commemoration ceremony held in the memory of the victims on Feb. 23, 2012, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that they would do their best to illuminate the murders and charge the people who organized and aided the crimes. The relatives of the victims trusted Merkel's words but the promises have remained unfulfilled so far.
All the terrorism experts in Germany, who issued honest statements on the subject, regard the NSU trial as a case in which the relations between the German intelligence units and the NSU are kept in the dark and all kinds of efforts have been exerted to prevent the disclosure of the relations. In addition, many of the defendants and witnesses of the trial were either killed in traffic accidents or committed suicide, which fuels suspicions.
No matter what the court verdict will be on July 11, the relatives of the victims and everyone valuing the principles of a state of law will not be satisfied with the result. Not only Chancellor Merkel, but all of Germany is responsible for keeping the promises previously given regarding the trial. As a state of law, the country has to clarify the subject to contribute to the fight against neo-Nazi groups.
This trial is a crucial one for the entire EU. Given that neo-Nazi and racist terror groups cooperate and maintain their activities across the EU, it is obvious that the un-clarified aspects of the case will set an impediment to success in the fight against them.
As a matter of fact, this subject also directly interests the European Parliament. Similar to the interest shown in the case of the female journalist assassinated in Malta, the European Parliament also has to show care in the NSU trial. If the European Parliament remains silent to the incidents in Germany, it will lose its credibility since it issues innumerable statements regarding Turkey's practices in the context of state of law principles.
In a nutshell, the NSU trial must be handled as a crucial subject in terms of the practice of the state of law principles in Europe. On July 11, the court must rule a verdict in line with this factor and necessary steps must be taken following the verdict.