German Chancellor Angela Merkel has asked for forgiveness on Tuesday for state authorities' failure in preventing dozens of racist attacks and murders since early 90's.
"It is painful to know that some of our agencies have also made some serious mistakes and failures. I myself, and as the federal government, we can only ask for forgiveness for these," Merkel said on the 25th anniversary of a racist attack in Solingen which saw the killing of five members of a Turkish family.
The German chancellor expressed deep sorrow for the victims of xenophobic and far-right violence, including eight Turkish immigrants killed by the neo-Nazi group NSU between 2000 and 2007.
"Such violent acts are disgraceful. They are a shame for our country. We cannot and we will not accept this," she stressed.
Merkel pledged stronger efforts in the fight against xenophobia, racism and discrimination.
"It is essential for German security agencies to make every effort to prevent far-right crimes," she said.
The German chancellor attended on Tuesday the official commemoration event in the northern city of Dusseldorf for the victims of the Solingen arson attack. Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu was among the attendees.
The house of the Turkish immigrant family in Solingen was set ablaze in 1993 by four young far-right extremists aged between 16 and 23, amid growing resentment against foreigners in the country, after the unification of East and West Germany in 1990.
At least 184 people have been killed in Germany by the neo-Nazi violence since 1989, according to the human rights organization Amadeu Antonio Foundation.
Germany's security agencies have long been under criticism by opposition parties for tolerating right-wing extremists, and failing to prevent violent acts of far-right groups.
The scandal surrounding neo-Nazi group National Socialist Underground (NSU) has led to accusations of "institutional racism" in Germany.
The NSU allegedly killed eight Turkish immigrants, a Greek citizen, and a German policewoman between 2000 and 2007, all apparently without arousing the suspicions of the German police or its intelligence services.
The German public first learned about the existence of NSU on Nov. 4, 2011, when two members of the group reportedly died in a murder-suicide following an unsuccessful bank robbery.
Until 2011, Germany's police and intelligence service ruled out any far-right motive for the murders and instead treated immigrant families as suspects.
Recent revelations have shown that German domestic intelligence agency BfV had dozens of informants who had contacts with the NSU suspects since the late 90s. But officials insisted that they had no prior information about the NSU terror cell and its suspected role in the killings.