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Eight Turkish nationals die in a fire in Germany

Reports have suggested that the deceased were Nazlı Özcan Soykan, 40, Hatice, 17, Yılmaz, 14, Abdülkadir, 8, İzzet, 7, Yasin, 6, Ahmet, 3 and 6-months-old Murat Soykan. Turkish broadcaster NTV quoted Mehmet Canbolat, the editor-in-chief of Toplum newspaper in Germany, as saying there was a possibility that the fire was started deliberately, as the area is dominated by migrants and there is a German-Turkish cultural exchange association on the ground floor of the burnt building. However, Agence France-Presse quoted police sources as saying that “there are no indications of arson or xenophobic motives.”  Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdağ said on his Twitter account that Turkey was expecting Germany to leave “no doubts” in explaining the cause of the fire.  Police said they were investigating an oven in a flat on the first floor of the former leather factory in the town of Backnang near Stuttgart, according to Agence France-Presse. A fire from a stove is another possible cause for the blaze.  Hundreds of firefighters tackled the fire that broke out in the early hours of Sunday morning.

By mid-morning, the fire was under control but not yet extinguished, according to media reports.

A total of eight people died in arson attacks by right-wing extremists on houses occupied by Turks in the German towns of Moelln and Solingen in 1992 and 1993. Fears for the safety of Turks in Germany have grown since it emerged that a neo-Nazi cell was allegedly behind a series of attacks against foreigners between 2000 and 2007. A trio of militants, calling itself the National Socialist Underground (NSU), are accused of killing nine men of Turkish or Greek origin across Germany between 2000 and 2006.

In a separate report, Munich state high court rejected to reserve a permanent place for Turkey’s Berlin Ambassador and Turkish Parliament Human Rights Responsible for monitoring the NSU case. Head of the court, Manfred Goetzel said that they have rejected the demand due to limited place but Turkish authorities can monitor the lawsuit by attending the trial like anyone else.

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