'Go home,' German neo-Nazis tell immigrant candidates
The letters, sent by Germany’s neo-Nazi NPD party, were presented as a "notice" to candidates of Turkish origin ahead of Sunday's election.Berlin -- There were fresh calls Tuesday to ban Germany's neo-Nazi NPD party after it sent letters to several ethnic minority candidates in this weekend's general election, telling them to "go home."
The letters, signed by an "officer for the deportation of foreigners," were presented as a "notice" to candidates of Turkish origin ahead of Sunday's election.
According to one recipient, Green politician Ozcan Mutlu, the two-paged letter contained a "five-point plan" for "moving foreigners gradually back to their home countries."
Mutlu, who was born in Turkey but took German citizenship in 1990, told AFP: "What they don't understand is that Germany is my country. I have no other, I have no other nationality."
He added: "They are sick in the head. They've learned nothing from history. We belong to this country. If all the Turks left, there would be a real economic crisis."
Prosecutors in Berlin are now investigating whether charges can be brought for inciting racial hatred, they told AFP. An NPD party spokesman could not be reached for comment.
The letters sparked outrage from mainstream politicians who called for renewed efforts to outlaw the NPD, which has no seats in the national parliament but is represented in two of Germany's powerful regional assemblies.
The head of the parliament's home affairs committee, Sebastian Edathy, said: "The interior minister should urgently reconsider his refusal of a new NPD ban."
"This is more evidence of the racist behaviour of the NPD, which is definitely not a democratic party," the Social Democrat (SPD) politician told the Koelner Stadt Anzeiger daily.
Extreme-left party Die Linke, a significant force in German politics, also called for an immediate ban, while the Free Democrats (FDP) called on "all democratic parties to act decisively against this racially motivated hatred."
An attempt by former chancellor Gerhard Schroeder to ban the party failed when Germany's top court ruled in 2003 that many of the NPD's leaders were actually government informants.
There are around 800,000 Turkish immigrants eligible to vote in the German election, from a total of 62 million voters.
Turks in Germany tend to vote for centre-left parties, according to a recent poll by Data 4U, which studies voting patterns among ethnic minorities.
Over half of those surveyed (55.5 percent) said they would vote for the SPD and 23.3 percent said they would choose the Green party.
Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats, who enjoy a clear lead nationally, would win only 10 percent of the Turkish vote, the poll suggested, with the FDP on less than one percent.
Overall, there are 5.6 million immigrants called to the polls on Sunday, around nine percent of the electorate.
Polls show the NPD has next to no chance of scooping a parliamentary seat in Sunday's election.
But it is rarely out of the headlines, especially at election time. In recent weeks, the party was forced to remove campaign posters warning of a "Polish invasion" after a storm of protests.
The party is also in deep financial trouble, having been slapped recently with hefty fines for accounting irregularities.
However, the NPD, which calls for an end to Germany's parliamentary democracy, receives public funding because of its score in recent elections, which has caused controversy across the political spectrum.
"I truly believe that 60 years after the German republic was founded and World War II, such rubbish should not be financed with taxpayers' money in our country," the Greens' Mutlu told rolling news channel N24.