09:40 GMT +320 October 2019
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    German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen

    German Defense Minister 'Trying to Escape Responsibility' for Neo-Nazi Scandal

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    German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen does not seem ready to assume responsibility for the recent scandal over army officers suspected of plotting a terror attack prompted by their far-right convictions, Martin Schulz, the chairman of the Social Democratic Party, said on Wednesday.

    BERLIN (Sputnik) — Since late April, two German army officers and one civilian have been detained on suspicion of impersonating a Syrian refugee and plotting a terror attack that they wanted to blame on the fake identity of a Syrian migrant.

    "The impression from the [defense] minister's self-defense, who is trying in many ways to escape the responsibility adequate to her office, while trying to pin the responsibility on our soldiers… is that von der Leyen, as a minister, does not seem ready to assume responsibility," Schulz told reporters.

    Shulz criticized Minister of the Interior Thomas de Maiziere as well, who, like von der Leyen, is a member of the ruling Christian Democratic Union, for "using distractions" when asked how one of the arrested officers managed to be recognized as a Syrian refugee by the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees, controlled by the Interior Ministry.

    Von der leyen told the German Stern magazine last week that she did not think she had to resign, but admitted that she regretted not having looked into the possible radicalization of officers earlier.

    The defense minister also suggested that the armed forces needed changes, especially in terms of political education and values. At the minister's request, several checks were held in various units in order to search for fascist-related paraphernalia. According to media reports, a song book, containing several questionable songs, was forbidden.

    The German parliamentary election is expected to be held in September.


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    neo-nazism, Bundeswehr, Martin Schulz, Ursula von der Leyen, Germany
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