As Angela Merkel Promised to Tackle Racism, a Turkish Man was Subjected to Police Violence

When Hakan Canik was getting ready to attend the 25th anniversary of Solingen massacre, he could not possibly imagine that himself would be a victim of racism at the end of the day. He wore his white shirt and put on his maroon jacket. It was the closest color that he could match to red and white of Turkish flag.

Around the same time, German chancellor Angela Merkel was speaking at Solingen anniversary event in the state capital, Dusseldorf. The long time leader of Germany sincerely accepted that racism and xenophobia still persist today but she would do her best to tackle it. “I know there have been mistakes made by the German institutions during NSU murders and I can only apologize for it,” said Merkel. What she meant was police’s and intelligence services’ negligence during NSU murders. Both institutions avoided blatant racist motives during the murders and constantly blamed the families and the Turkish community.

Protestors in Solingen

In the center of Solingen, a lot of extra police force have been deployed from surrounding cities. Racist attacks have been on the rise recently, and both foreign ministers of Turkey and Germany were attending the ceremony there.

Taking advantage of the presence of Turkish foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, there were also a group of pro-terrorist PKK protestors right near the memorial site.

Heavy downpour disrupted the ceremony which was cut short. Hakan Canik was too heading home early as everyone else. He crossed the street only to pass by the protestor where he saw terrorist PKK flags and a picture of its jailed leader Ocalan. He waved a wolf sign which represents nationalism in Turkey at the protestors. Then Hakan warned the police to take down PKK flags and Ocalan’s picture. “It is prohibited. All kind of PKK symbols are banned in Germany and I only reminded the police that fact,” said the 44 years old. Police said to him it was none of his business what was banned or not. Hakan also mumbled back in a resilient manner.

Hakan Canik at the Solingen Memorial

” I was walking away and all of the sudden one of the police hit me so hard on my neck, I thought my head was removed from my body,” said Hakan. His arm, upper and lower back was bruised from extensive violence he was subjected to. “It was as if I was the terror supporter and those protestors were human rights defenders,” reacted Hakan during our talk.

Police brutality was overlooked by the German state TV cameras near by but it was reported by the Turkish media. Hakan Canik said despite having only German citizenship, Turkish counsel general in Berlin called him that night to express his sorrow. He recalls what his high school teacher once told him: You came to this country to work not to study! Hakan did not come to Germany but was born here. And he moved on the finish a university and became an engineer. But he says racism, xenophobia lingers on every aspect of life as it did 25 years ago. He sees a little hope for the future in Germany.

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