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Tugce's parents to found institute in her name

The Local · 30 Dec 2014, 09:22

Published: 30 Dec 2014 09:22 GMT+01:00

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Tugce has since become something of a folk hero in Germany, as a  young teacher in training, and child of German-Turkish immigrants, who paid with her life after selflessly intervening to help others.

Her parents told Bild newspaper the institute they plan to found in her name will celebrate "civil courage", and award a prize annually to those who help others in an emergency.

"Tugce gave herself to others who needed help. Her courage, her attitude towards life, her strength and all her other qualities that made up her character, should continue in the form of an institute," she said.

Tugce intervened to help two girls being harassed in the toilets of a McDonald's restaurant in Offenbach on November 15th.

The confrontation escalated and continued out into the carpark, where Tugce was hit and fell to the ground with what was ultimately a fatal blow.

She suffered severe brain damage and went into a coma. Her family had to take the tragic decision to turn off her life-support machine on November 28th - what would have been her 23rd birthday.

Against the backdrop of rising anti-Muslim feeling in Germany, most notably in the 17,000 strong Pegida (Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of Europe) weekly demonstrations in Dresden, Tugce became an icon of a more integrated, multi-cultural Germany.

Born a Muslim of Turkish parentage in Germany, she had been training to become an ethics teacher at the University of Giessen. Her story was taken up by Turkish and international media as a crowd of 1,500 mourned for her outside the hospital in Offenbach near Frankfurt am Main.

Story continues below…

President Joachim Gauck wrote to the family with condolences, saying "Where other people look away, Tugce acted with exemplary bravery and courage."

One man, aged 18, has been charged in connection with the attack, while two female witnesses have come forward to help police.

The incident was captured on the restaurant's CCTV cameras, although friends and family of Tugce urged people not to watch the footage after it was posted on Bild's website.

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The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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