ISTANBUL: What if eight Germans had been killed in Turkey?

Today’s Zaman, Turkey
May 8 2013

What if eight Germans had been killed in Turkey?

When Hrant Dink, a Turkish citizen of Armenian descent, was killed in
the street in the middle of Ä°stanbul in 2007, everyone knew almost
immediately that it was one of the political killings similar to
examples Turkey was accustomed to.

For decades, the Turkish deep state, which includes but is probably
not limited to the clandestine Ergenekon network, committed numerous
killings of influential and controversial people in society to foment
chaos in the country. And to a great extent it was successful. Thanks
to a pleasant coincidence (!), political killings have stopped with
the revealing and imprisoning of the Ergenekon network.

Unfortunately, no Ergenekon trial will bring Hrant Dink back. When the
assassin, a 17-year-old teenager from the Black Sea city of Trabzon,
which has many nationalists, was captured, everyone assumed that the
killing could not be limited to a teenager, that he was in fact
exploited by other actors. Although some of his wider connections came
to the fore during the trial period, the court’s verdict was a huge
disappointment in the name of justice. Despite evidence to the
contrary, the court decided that no criminal organization was
responsible for the killing of Dink. Expectedly, no one who has lived
in Turkey long enough bought the argument.

When I saw the member of the Nationalism Socialist Underground (NSU),
a neo-Nazi terrorist organization which has killed eights Turks, a
Greek and a German police officer in the last decade, Zschäpe enter
the courtroom in a surprisingly comfortable manner, it immediately
reminded me of the murderer of Hrant Dink. I can assume safely that I
am not alone in the belief that the NSU case, which started on May 6,
will end up in the punishment of a few people without discovering the
deeper roots it seems to have in the German society or state. It is
not that I suspect a German deep state simply because we have one in
Turkey. During the NSU investigation, it turned out that some federal
officials had destroyed documents related to the neo-Nazi organization
in 2011.

The NSU case gives Germany a chance to face with any clandestine
organization that it might be fostering. In Dink’s case, Turkey was
unable to deliver justice completely and gain the trust of its
minorities, but Germany still has the opportunity to prove to around
three million Turks in Germany that the lives of people with Turkish
origin are as valuable as its ethnically German citizens.

Disappointingly enough, the NSU case and the relative disinterest of
the Turkish media in the trial has shown that the lives of Turkish
immigrants do not matter that much to Turks either.

God forbid, what if eight Germans were killed by racist motives in
Turkey? Not only would international media judge Turkey harshly far
before the trial, but the Turkish media would also cover the event
much more broadly than the NSU case. It is painful to admit, but
probably due to a self-Orientalist mindset, the lives of Westerners
are deemed more worthy of attention than regular Turkish citizens,
even by Turks themselves.

Nothing can undo the injustice done to people who are killed only
because of their race. However, if and when the Turkish state at the
highest possible level, the Turkish media and Turks who are supposed
to be a part of Germany adopt the NSU case and follow it up closely,
the pains of the victims’ families could be eased.

More importantly, if the NSU verdict satisfies the conscience of the
public, Germany could become a more equal society in the eyes of its
immigrants, who have long felt as the stepchildren of their host

From: Baghdasarian

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