Germany's Turks to file complaint against far-right politician


Germany's Turkish community plans to launch a legal complaint against a far-right politician for dubbing them "camel herders" and "caraway traders."

The insults were made by the head of the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party in the state of Saxony-Anhalt Andre Poggenburg.

"Such insults can't be ignored and accepted in silence; after all, they come from a party that is now sitting in many parliaments," Gokay Sofuoglu, chair of the Turkish Community in Germany (TGD), told journalists.

His organisation plans to file a legal complaint against Poggenburg for hate speech, he said, as does the local Turkish Alliance in Berlin-Brandenburg (TBB).

Poggenburg was reacting to Turkish groups who oppose the concept of a new Home Ministry as proposed in the new German government coalition agreement, saying it harks back to the Nazi era and might divide the country rather than unite it. But the plan is popular with the AfD, which bounced into the German Bundestag in last year's elections and has only seen its support grow amid political bickering by the more established parties.

"These caraway traders have the genocide of 1.5 million Armenians weighing them down ... and they want to tell us something about history and homeland? They're nuts. These camel herders should set off to where they belong," Poggenburg said on Wednesday.

He was referring to the World War I-era deaths of hundreds of thousands of Armenians in Turkey, an event that has been recognised as a genocide by several countries, despite Turkey's rejection of the term. He also lashed out at dual citizenship for Germany's Turks, which he said results in nothing "but homeland and fatherland-less riff-raff."

Poggenburg has been criticised from within his own party for the comments. A member of the party's national executive, Steffen Koeniger, said the comment weren't forthright, they were sheer "stupidity."

"There are very many supremely integrated Turks; we also have some in the party," he added.    (dpa)

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