* Revelation of racist killing spree shocked Germany
* Trial of five suspects to begin on April 17
* Turks murdered but Turkish media not guaranteed access
By Alexandra Hudson
BERLIN, March 27 German politicians, media and
the country's Turkish community accused a German court of gross
insensitivity in failing to guarantee Turkish reporters access
to a trial of suspected neo-Nazis blamed for a racist killing
With the trial for the murder of eight Turks and a Greek due
to start on April 17, the court allocated 50 guaranteed seats to
media on a first-come-first-served basis. Reporters would have
to queue for a further 50-60 places each day, the court said.
With local media rushing for seats at what will be one of
Germany's most watched trials in decades, no Turkish newspapers
were allocated guaranteed places - a situation that a German
government minister said was unacceptable and a potential
"Out of respect for the victims and their families, and in
order to win back trust, it is an absolute necessity for Turkish
and Greek media reporters to be considered in the seat
allocation," said Maria Boehmer, minister of state for migration
"The whole world is looking at Germany in this case."
The Munich court's decision threatens to become the latest
in a series of missteps by German authorities over the murders
blamed on a previously unknown group called the National
Socialist Underground (NSU), discovered in late 2011.
An inquiry revealed botched investigations, failure to
consider racist motives for the killings between 2000 and 2007,
a lack of communication between Germany's intelligence services
and a failure to properly monitor members of neo-Nazi groups.
The court defended its action, saying it had warned it would
allocate seats in order of application. It not legally possible
to broadcast proceedings to another room for more reporters to
follow, it said.
Germany's Foreign Press Association urged the court to
re-think. German newspaper Bild offered to give its seat to
Turkish newspaper Hurriyet, but the court said places could not
Commenting in Bild, former Hurriyet editor Ertugrul Ozkok
wrote: "This cannot be true. Three right-wing extremists are
suspected of murdering eight Turks, a Greek and a policewoman.
For years German authorities failed in their investigations. And
now finally when it comes to trial there is no place for Turkish
"This is a scandal for Germany ... you would expect a degree
of sensitivity from a court when dealing with the investigation
of racist crimes."
There was also outrage in Turkey where a front-page headline
in daily newspaper Milliyet described the situation as "German
Media focus in the trial will be on a 38-year-old woman,
Beate Zschaepe, accused of being a founder member of the NSU And
of involvement in the murders. Four suspected male accomplices
are also on trial.
The existence of the cell came to light by chance when two
members committed suicide after a botched bank robbery and when
Zschaepe allegedly set fire to an apartment used by the gang.
At a memorial ceremony last year, Chancellor Angela Merkel
begged the families for forgiveness for Germany's failings and
pledged to take action against neo-Nazis.
(Additional reporting by Daren Butler in Istanbul; Editing by