Germany bans Kurdish demo but can’t hide its guilt

By Hardi Baban:

The German authorities have banned a Kurdish demonstration that was scheduled to take place today,  26th November, in protest at the 18-year-old ban on Kurdish Workers Party (PKK) activities in Germany.

An estimated 10,000 people were expected to participate in the demonstration called by the Federation of Kurdish Associations in Germany, YEK-COM, and supported by a dozen federal, European and parliamentary deputies of the Left Party and the chairman of the German Communist Party. With the slogan, ‘To Strengthen Democracy, Lift the PKK Ban – Freedom for Öcalan and Peace in Kurdistan’, Kurds in Germany were recalling the prohibition of PKK activities ordered by the then CDU Interior Minister, Manfred Kanther, in 1993.

At a cooperative meeting between the police department and representatives of YEK-COM on 7th October, the organizers agreed to change the demo route and reduce the presence of  Öcalan’s pictures to 1 per 50 protesters. However, a month later, YEK-COM received a letter from the Berlin police notifying it that the demo on 26th November had been banned.

On Remembrance Sunday last week, a group of a hundred policemen raided the building of the German-Mesopotamian education centre in Berlin-Kreuzberg and they searched more one hundred participants in a fundraising event that was being held for the earthquake victims in the city of Van. According to the police, this was a ‘routine check’, ironically on a Sunday. Two days after the raid, the administrative court announced the ban on the demonstration and declared: “The prohibition also extends to any kind of substitute events in the months of November and December 2011 in the State of Berlin”. The decision was justified on the grounds of “the imminent endangerment of the public security and order” posed by the demonstration, because of “the almost certain chances” of it leading to violations of the laws of association.

The reason why every activity in November and December must be banned, according to the authorities, is because the PKK was founded on the 27th November 1978 and therefore the date of the demonstration is “obviously” connected to this. The PKK is listed as a ‘terrorist’ organization by the German authorities.

These repressive actions against the national and social liberation struggle of the Kurdish people in Germany are not uncommon. They have always been a product of the Federal Republic’s cooperation with the Turkish intelligence services and now they are paralleling the intensified military attacks by Turkish forces on Kurdish villages in South-eastern Turkey and Iraqi Kurdistan. In a region like Kurdistan, war and a lack of resolution best serve the interests of a weapon-exporting country like Germany, which is considered to be one of the biggest arms suppliers to Turkey. With Turkish ambitions to build a high-tech arms industry and spend a lot on purchasing arms from abroad, countries like Germany cannot restrain themselves from sustaining Turkey’s war machine in exchange for hefty sums of money, even though this is contrary to the interests of the people of Kurdistan.

Between the high-tech weapons suppliers – namely Germany and other countries such as the US and the UK – and the Turkish state – whose military operations are being carried out by forces which recruit from among far-right Turkish nationalist groups known for their hatred towards the Kurds – PKK members are enduring the worst ever ill-treatment.

One might expect that Germany would not risk its political and economic relations with Turkey for the sake of the Kurdish people or that Germany would not give any kind of support to the Kurds’ efforts to liberate their own Kurdistan. For German officials, Kurdistan is not a European country and so it is not deserving of help. But the issue is that Germany must stop giving a helping hand to Turkey, a key ally of the West, and one of the world’s major recipients of sophisticated arms for the past twenty years. Germany has to think about its role in securing Kurdistan for the Turkish state which, in its fight with the PKK (the ‘terror’ organization), has depopulated the region of Kurdistan, destroyed thousands of villages and forced more than two million people to emigrate internally and externally.

Germany cannot deny its share of guilt for its role in helping Saddam Hussein to build chemical weapons which were used against Kurds in the massacre at Halabja in 1988. Germany has struggled since the fall of the Nazi regime to pay for the persecution of the Jewish people and it has endured collectively as a nation the burden of those state crimes. However, instead of truly distancing itself from this past, Germany now stains itself again by taking the Turkish side in the persecution and oppression of the Kurds.

A US  Department official has said in reference to Turkey: “The majority of what their military has is from us, so of course US weapons are involved in whatever it is they do.” Since their arms are from Germany too, Germany is also involved in all the crimes carried out by Turkey and these include, according to human rights reports: shooting and torturing PKK members, killing villagers, kidnapping civilians, burning homes and the widespread destruction of towns and villages.

Kurdistan is not just about the PKK. Even an ‘anti-PKK’ Kurd partly sympathises with the organisation and sees the intentions of the Western countries and might well grow hostile towards them. German authorities should be more considerate when taking deliberate actions against PKK activities in Germany.  This may just be how the Kurds are appealing to the German government now – instead of adopting pressure group strategies such as filing lawsuits against Germany for helping Saddam Hussein with chemical weapons used against the Kurds in Iraq and for its potential involvement in supplying the Turkish army with chemical weapons used recently to kill more than 24 PKK guerrillas.


2 Responses to Germany bans Kurdish demo but can’t hide its guilt
  1. Adib
    November 27, 2011 | 20:48

    that is one good example of the doubled-face policies of a European country such as Germany to claim democracy and at the same time oppress the Kurdish dream of freedom of speech even on it’s land. properly explained.

  2. Kamo Issa
    December 4, 2011 | 16:38

    First things come first, and it’s in Germany’s interest to take Turkey’s side, business is business.

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