After ban by authorities, KCDK-E holds open-air congress in Germany

In Cologne, a rally was held to protest against the ban on the congress of the Kurdish European umbrella organization KCDK-E. Since enough members were present, the board elections were held open-air.

On Sunday, about 250 people joined a demonstration in the German city of Cologne in protest against the ban on the congress of the European Democratic Kurdish Society Congress (KCDK-E) earlier in the week. The crowd was confronted with a massive police contingent.


Koç: German authorities should abide by the Basic Law

The first to speak was the Kurdish politician Yüksel Koç, who is the co-chairman of the KCDK-E, at the rally entitled "Against the criminalization of the Kurdish democratic society in Europe". Koç introduced his speech with Article 1 of the German Basic Law: "Human dignity is inviolable. To respect and protect it is the obligation of all state authority." The 57-year-old politician then pointed to the right to freedom of expression and assembly enshrined in the fundamental right. "The question for us is whether the German government wants to prevent Kurds from organizing. The Council of Europe constantly talks about freedom and democracy. It is the people of Kurdistan who defend these values in the Middle East. Why doesn't Germany support the Kurdish people? Are the Kurds excluded from fundamental rights, for instance?" Koç called on the German authorities to abide by the Basic Law.

International guests protest against conference ban

Everyone should know that the Kurdish people will not be dissuaded from their legitimate resistance for freedom and self-determination, Koç said. Despite the ban on the conference, -he said- numerous people came to the Rhine metropolis to show solidarity with the association and thus with Kurdish society. Among them were numerous representatives of Kurdish and Turkish organizations as well as invited guests of the congress. Among others, Swedish politician Benny Gustavsson, who is the chairman of the cross-faction Kurdistan Solidarity Group in the Swedish Parliament, Italian teacher Silvana Barbieri and former Italian senator and Member of the European Parliament Luigi Vinci, who at 82 years of age also did not miss the opportunity to participate in the rally.

"This is politics à la Erdogan"

Fatoş Göksungur, the female co-chair of the KCDK-E, said the umbrella organization had 409 associations from across Europe with more than three million members. "That we nevertheless have to make our statements in a police encirclement reads to us as support for the Erdogan regime's anti-Kurdish policies."

Zübeyde Zümrüt, co-chair of the German umbrella organization KON-MED, explained that it was precisely this image that drove her into exile in Germany. "Unfortunately, I have to conclude that there is hardly any difference between the anti-Kurdish measures in Turkey and those in Germany. Here, politics à la Erdogan is being pursued."

Ertuğrul Kürkçü: Germany is heading into an unfortunate situation

HDP honorary chairman Ertuğrul Kürkçü, who is also a member of the advisory board of Progressive International (PI), warned that Germany is heading "straight into an unfortunate situation" that is concurrent with the situation in "autocratically ruled Turkey."

New Board Elections Open-Air

Other speakers and expressions of solidarity included Daniel Riazat (Member of the Swedish Parliament), Peter Weispfenning (ICOR), Goran Babaali (Gorran Movement), Huseyin Mirani (PUK), Kurdish exiled politician Hatip Dicle and former HDP MPs Nursel Aydoğan, Ahmet Yıldırım and Lezgin Botan. Afterwards, the rally was transformed into an open-air congress of KCDK-E. The board said there were enough members present to hold elections. Yüksel Koç and Fatoş Göksungur were re-elected as co-chairs. The rest of the board will henceforth consist of Zübeyde Zümrüt and Engin Sever (both KON-MED), Nadiy Salih, Hamit Biten, Nursel Aydoğan, Murat Ceylan and Ahmet Kobani. Ismail Parmaksız, Cuma Isviçre and Vedat Bingöl were elected to the Supervisory Board.