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Prosecutors Investigating Turk After Right-Wing Rampage

May 14, 1994

BONN, Germany (AP) _ Hundreds of leftists marched Saturday to protest a right-wing rampage in a Turkish cafe that left at least six people injured.

Police said they lacked evidence to press charges against those involved the rampage, but said they were investigating a Turkish waiter for allegedly stabbing a neo-Nazi.

A group of waiters at a Magdeburg cafe picked up knives to defend five African refugees who fled into the cafe, chased by about 30 right-wingers during a six-hour street fight Thursday.

At least three right-wingers suffered serious stab wounds.

Three foreigners also were injured, and prosecutors said an unidentified man found in the bushes in a coma apparently had been beaten during the riots.

As with each previous bout of right-wing violence since German unification, political leaders demanded tougher punishment.

Chancellor Helmut Kohl’s Christian Democrats called for more jail time for assault and for lengthening the time police can hold suspects without charge. Tougher laws could be passed this month, but there is some opposition to the measures within Kohl’s coalition.

Police booked and released 35 rightists after the riots, but Prosecutor Rudolf Jaspers said authorities lacked enough evidence to charge anyone. He appealed to witnesses to come forward.

About 500 leftists blocked traffic in downtown Magdeburg for several hours to protest the violence and the official response.

″They are investigating the victims rather than criminals,″ said Mustafa Cakmakoglu, a leader of the Turkish community in eastern Germany.

Cakmakoglu, in a phone interview from Berlin, said the fact that the Africans had to seek shelter in a Turkish cafe demonstrated a shocking indifference or incompetence on the part of police.

He accused politicians of whipping up anti-foreigner sentiment, citing presidential candidate Roman Herzog’s recent statement that foreigners who didn’t want to surrender their citizenship and become Germans should go home.

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