German court to issue verdict on Kurdish ban

A German Federal Administrative Court will decide on Wednesday whether it will lift the ban on the Mesopotamia Publishing House and Mir Music, two important Kurdish institutions in Germany, introduced by the Ministry of Interior in 2019.

Established in Cologne in 1995, the Mesopotamia Publishing House has published books in Kurdish, Turkish, German, English, French, Arabic and Persian languages ​​for years, enabling the Kurds living in Germany to embrace their language, culture and literature.

Another Kurdish institution, the Mir Music (MÎR Multimedia GmbH), which was founded in 2008, has also provided important services to Kurdish art by releasing tens of Kurdish music CDs.

Both institutions were closed following a ban imposed by the Minister of Interior, Horst Seehofer, on February 1, 2019. Citing the ban, the police raided both institutions on February 12, 2019, confiscated cultural products, and sealed their doors.

The German police confiscated in the premises of the Mezopotamya Publishing House and Mir Music thousands of books and CDs, including Kurdish grammar books, Kurdish children's books, and books on Kurdish history. Both institutions had already been subjected to police operations in 2018 as well. The Ministry cited the PKK ban, which has been in force in the country since 1993, as the reason for the confiscations.

The Kurds have been struggling for the last three years against the continuation of the ban on these Kurdish cultural institutions introduced as a result of the negotiations between the Merkel government and the AKP-MHP government. Following the objection of the lawyers for both institutions, the case has been transferred to Germany's highest administrative law court, the Federal Administrative Court, which resolves the problems between citizens and the state.


The first hearing of the lawsuit filed by the lawyers of the Kurdish institutions will be heard on Wednesday at the Federal Administrative Court in Leipzig.

The court, as the only legal institution to object to the criminalization of Kurdish culture in Germany, will announce its decision in a single session. For this reason, the left/democratic circles fighting against the German state censorship are waiting for the verdict that will come out on Wednesday.

The lawyers of the Mesopotamia Publishing House and Mir Music, Dr. Peer Stolle, Dr. Lukas Theune and Berthold Fresenius, demand that the ban be lifted, arguing that the most important voice of Kurdish culture in Germany has been silenced by the 2019 ban. The lawyers pointed out that both institutions have been serving the Kurdish culture and music for years and added that the ban is analogous with the crackdown of the Turkish and other colonialist states in Kurdistan. The lawyers requested that the confiscated books, music archives and CDs should also be returned.


On Wednesday at 10:00, Kurds and their friends will hold a mass demonstration in front of the court building at "Simsonplatz 1".

Numerous Kurdish writers, artists and musicians will also participate in the demonstration and demand that the court lift the ban against the Mesopotamia Publishing House and Mir Music.

Meanwhile, almost 100 writers, journalists, academics, publishing houses and media organizations released a joint statement before the first hearing and expressed support for the legal struggle of the Mesopotamia Publishing House and Mir Music. The statement said that the ban is analogous to the crackdown by the Turkish state against the Kurdish people and culture. “We demand that the freedom of thought, ideas and art, guaranteed by the German constitution, should also apply to the Kurds living in this country,” it added.


The police seizure of cultural products at the Mesopotamia Publishing House and Mir Music, which were subjected to police raids in 2018 and 2019, was considered an attempt to prevent 1.5 million Kurds living in Germany from reading books and listening to music. During these raids, the German police seized 10 thousand books from the Mesopotamia Publishing House in different languages, ​​such as Kurdish, Turkish, German, Arabic, Persian and other books brought from Turkey, and all the equipment, computers, CDs of Mir Music, including recorders and traditional Kurdish clothes.

Among the books confiscated by the police were "What do the Kurds want", "Lehrbuch der Kurdischen Sprache", "Children's Education" and books by authors such as L.N Tolstoy, Victor Hugo, Dostoyevsky and Gogol. The internationally renowned Mesopotamia Publishing House used to attend the Frankfurt International Book Fair every year and organize seminars and panels on Kurdish language and literature.

The Mir Music has also made significant contributions to Kurdish music, releasing around 500 CDs since its establishment.

The company has released albums by dozens of artists, especially Koma Berxwedan, Nasir Rezazî, Necmeddin Xulamî, Chopi, Hanî, Ciwan Haco, Hesen Şerif, Mikail Aslan. The confiscation of the Kurdish music archive of the Mir Music, which also organized concerts, sparked a reaction in Germany.