Traveling for work and far from home, Seda Basay-Yildiz received a chilling fax at her hotel: “You filthy Turkish sow,” it read. “We will slaughter your daughter.”
A German defense lawyer of Turkish descent who specializes in Islamist terrorism cases, Ms. Basay-Yildiz was used to threats from the far right. But this one, which arrived late one night in August 2018, was different.
Signed with the initials of a former neo-Nazi terrorist group, it contained her address, which was not publicly available because of the earlier threats. Whoever sent it had access to a database protected by the state.
“I knew I had to take this seriously — they had our address, they knew where my daughter lives,” Ms. Basay-Yildiz recalled in an interview. “And so for the first time I actually called the police.”
It would bring her little sense of security: An investigation soon showed that the information had been retrieved from a police computer.
Far-right extremism is resurgent in Germany, in ways that are new and very old, horrifying a country that prides itself on dealing honestly with its murderous past. This month, a two-year parliamentary inquiry concluded that far-right networks had extensively penetrated German security services, including its elite special forces. [Continue reading…]