The court is claiming it provided accreditation on a first-come, first-served basis, but international outrage is growing. Turks in Germany and in Turkey are feeling left in the cold over a series of murders of which their community was the primary target.
The trial of Beate Zschäpe, a suspected member of the National Socialist Underground (NSU) neo-Nazi terror cell (with links to German Intelligence), is expected to be the biggest in the country since the Red Army Faction trial of the mid-1970s. International attention is expected to be considerable, particularly given the xenophobic nature of the crimes and the involvement of Neo-Nazis.
This week, Turkish journalists and politicians have been demanding a guaranteed presence at the trial. Many are asking why such a small courtroom has been chosen and why an overflow room with live video isn't being set up for journalists.
One of its primary responsibilities is to ensure that the process of truth-finding takes place with the greatest possible openness and transparency. It is incomprehensible to claim that a larger court room couldn't have been found in Munich for the trial … indeed, it's a shamefully inadequate excuse.
It is entirely incomprehensible that it wasn't possible to secure even just one guaranteed seat for the Turkish media in the courtroom. It would have been so simple. Who would have objected if the court had reserved four or five of the seats allotted for the media from the get go to journalists from the country with whom the majority of the victims were associated?
Several media organizations have since offered to give their seats to Turkish colleagues. But the fact that the court has not even been willing to accept this compromise, and is instead hiding behind its apparently incontrovertible accreditation process, is demonstrative of a siege mentality that is unbecoming of this trial.
Celal Özcan, the Berlin-based editor in chief of the European edition of Turkish daily Hürriyet, writes;
"My newspaper, Hürriyet, called the court repeatedly before the accreditation period asking to be informed of dates so that we wouldn't miss them. We registered on the first day of accreditation, and now we are told by the press office of the Munich Higher Regional Court that others were faster? How can that be? It is absolutely unacceptable that the Turkish media has been excluded from the courtroom. Many Turks aren't just disappointed -- they are shocked, both in Turkey and in Germany."
"For Turkish people living in Germany, this trial is eminently important and they feel like it has touched them personally. They want to know the truth. They want to be informed. And Turks will be looking to this trial."
As we discussed previously Here, Germany has a history of obfuscation of Nazi trials, which are purposely moved to Bavaria due to sympathetic members of Stille Hilfe in the Bavarian Judiciary.
Transparency is not a word Germany understands when Nazis and German Intelligence are linked.