A nationwide subscription daily newspaper in Germany has criticized the government for allowing the operation of the neo-Nazi organization, Combat 18, while banning Kurdish publishing houses and radical leftist websites.
Ronen Steinke, a journalist from the Süddeutsche Zeitung (SZ), said in a report on Tuesday that the German Interior Ministry has been too patient with Combat 18, an organization that defines itself as an armed offshoot of “Blood & Honor” and which was outlawed in 2000.
Steinke emphasized that Kurdish publishing houses and radical leftist websites are immediately banned by Berlin, but the same attitude is not displayed towards fascist groups in the country.
“It is hilarious that the neo-Nazi group, Combat 18, is still not banned in Germany,” Steinke said on Tuesday.
He continued, referring to the recent killing of politician Walter Lübcke, by saying, “This group is uttering threats of disobedience while wearing masks in a video that was released soon after the murder of Lübcke. It’s almost like they are begging for you to impose a ban.”
Lübcke, who was in charge of the Kassel area regional administration in the state of Hessen, was shot dead on the terrace of his home near Kassel in the early hours of June 2, 2019.
It emerged that the main suspect of the murder, Stephan E, has ties to the Combat 18 group, which adds pressure on Germany’s Interior Ministry to outlaw what is considered a terrorist organization.
After revising its list of terrorist organizations, Canada added Combat 18 to the list in June.
“When it comes to a Kurdish publishing house that releases a book against the regime of [Turkish President] Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the [Interior] Ministry says ‘Conduct a raid!’” Steinke added, referring to the biased attitude of the government.
Since peace talks and a two-year-long ceasefire between the Turkish state and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) ended in 2015, Ankara has adopted a nationalist discourse and implemented a crackdown on the Kurdish groups whom it accuses of acting in the interests of the PKK.
A number of MPs from the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) have been arrested pending trial on charges that include making propaganda for the outlawed PKK.
As an armed militant group that has been labeled a terrorist organization by the Turkish government, the PKK has waged a separatist insurgency in mainly Kurdish-populated southeastern Turkey since 1984.
“When a radical leftist portal glorifying attacks on police is in question, it is prohibited! But when it is a neo-Nazi group with members that supported the racist National Socialist Underground (NSU) [terrorists], they say they are investigating it,” Steinke continued.
The NSU, a far-right German neo-Nazi terrorist group which was uncovered in November 2011, killed eight Turkish immigrants, one Greek citizen, and a German police officer between 2000 and 2007.