Kurdish Attacks Complicate Status of Foreigners in Germany With AM-Britain-City Security
BONN, Germany (AP) _ Turks and Kurds brawled in the streets Friday, and alarmed German officials threatened to deport Kurdish separatists to prevent them from importing their war to German soil.
Turks and Kurds who have lived side by side for decades expressed concern that Thursday’s attacks by Kurdish militants in 16 German cities could increase anti-foreigner sentiment and set back their quest for more civil rights and protection from neo-Nazi extremists.
The attacks, apparently coordinated by the Marxist Kurdish Workers’ Party, or PKK, also targeted Turkish diplomatic missions and businesses in France, Denmark, Sweden, Switzerland and England.
But Germany had the most attacks, with more than 30 people arrested during assaults in 10 of the cities. In Munich, militants held hostages for more than 14 hours, and bank and travel agency windows were smashed in other cities.
The violence continued Friday. Turks attacked a group of Kurds who had blockaded the Turkish consulate at Karlsruhe, in southern Germany. Police arrested 100 people after a skirmish in which about six people were injured and cars vandalized, a police spokesman said.
Interior Minister Rudolf Seiters said the Munich hostage-takers might be deported to Turkey and the PKK banned.
″We can’t allow conflicts from other countries to be played out on German soil,″ he said.
In Turkey, Foreign Minister Hikmet Cetin said his government had intelligence reports about preparations for further attacks on Turkish missions in Europe on Saturday. He said it had warned several countries, but did not elaborate.
He said a delegation had gone to Germany to discuss the attacks and the extradition of the Munich hostage-takers, who went before a magistrate Friday on charges of kidnapping and attempted coercion of the German government.
The gunmen had held 23 hostages at the Turkish consulate and demanded that Chancellor Helmut Kohl ask Turkey to stop a military offensive against Kurdish rebels fighting for an independent state in southeastern Turkey. The German government refused, and the gunmen released the hostages and surrendered.
Many leading politicians have demanded that the PKK be banned in Germany.
″Foreign feuds should not be settled on our soil,″ the interior minister of Bavaria state, Guenther Beckstein, told reporters Friday. Munich is Bavaria’s capital.
The 1.8 million Turkish residents of Germany include nearly 400,000 Kurds. The PKK has about 5,000 members in Germany and its banners are often seen at left-wing protests. Militant Turkish nationalists also are active.
Liberal politicians have been calling for Germany’s 4.5 million longtime foreign residents to be given dual citizenship so they can vote, join the police and enter the civil service.
Thursday’s attacks gave ammunition to conservatives who have argued that foreigners sow chaos in Germany and that dual citizenship will make the country a battleground for people with divided loyalties.
″It seems hard enough to get along already,″ said the lead editorial in a conservative newspaper, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. ″Those who want a ‘utopia encompassing all peoples’ will also have to accept daily expressions of hatred between such peoples.″
Many Turks say the PKK attacks will only hurt efforts to improve their lot and gain protection from neo-Nazi attacks. Turks have been among the foreigners targeted in some 3,000 neo-Nazi attacks since the beginning of 1992 that have killed more than 25 people.
″The PKK is a tiny group that damages the reputation of the Kurds, and unfortunately it’s going to hurt us too,″ said Nihat Deniz, a Turk who counsels the city of Solingen on relations with foreigners.
Solingen is the site of a May 29 firebombing by neo-Nazis that killed five Turkish girls and women.