Turkish PM Tries to Quell Anger Over Fire

Deadly blaze in Germany raises ethnic tensions
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Feb 7, 2008 8:03 PM CST
Family members of the victims listen to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Rhineland-Palatinate's State Premier Kurt Beck during a visit at the house which burned down on February 7, 2008...   (Getty Images)
camera-icon View 2 more images

(Newser) – Turkish PM Recep Erdogan today visited the site of a questionable Sunday fire in Germany that killed nine ethnic Turks and inflamed tensions between the country, Der Spiegel reports. Charges that the fire was arson, and that rescue workers were slow to respond, have captured headlines in Turkey; Erdogan mourned the loss but tried to quell the anger.

The area has seen neo-Nazi activity, and two children say they saw a German-looking man start the fire. Turkish newspapers have fanned the controversy with headlines like “Nazi Panic in Germany,” but German and Turkish officials are trying to calm the storm. “Our pain is tremendous,” Erdogan said, adding, "let's all help to strengthen the friendship between Germany and Turkey.”