Thousands in Berlin: "Pave the way for peace, lift the PKK ban!"
On 26 November 1993, the then Federal Minister of the Interior, Manfred Kanther, ordered a ban on the activities of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (Partiya Karkerên Kurdistan, PKK) in Germany.
Thousands of people attended a march organized in Berlin, Germany on Saturday by the initiative "Lift the PKK ban!" against the ban on the PKK and criminalization of the Kurds.
The demonstration under the slogan "Pave the way for peace, lift the PKK ban!" was supported by over fifty organisations and initiatives including The umbrella organization of the Kurdish Diaspora in Germany, KON-MED, Kurdistan Students Union (YXK), Kurdish Women's Movement in Germany (YJK-E), Antifa, Interventionistische Linke [Interventionist Left], Linksjugend [Left Youth], Zora Young Women’s Union, Berlin Migrant Strikers, Women Life Freedom Collective, Rote Hilfe, Azadi e. V. And the Left Party.
Demonstrators marched from Hermannplatz to Oranienplatz and gave the message that “Banning the PKK is banning a people”.
“TURKEY TAKES STRENGTH FROM THE GERMAN BAN”
The opening speech of the demonstration was made by Fed-Kurd co-chair Niştiman Tarhan, who said, “We are here today and everyone knows why. The PKK is the people and the people are here.”
The other co-chair of Fed-Kurd, Kerem Gök, spoke about the harm caused by the PKK ban on the Kurdish people, noting that hundreds of Kurdish patriots have been subject to various unlawful sentences taking the ban as a basis. “Banning the PKK means banning 50 million Kurds. We urge the German state to respect the Kurdish people. The Turkish state takes strength from the ban in Germany for its currently ongoing chemical weapons attacks.”
BANNING THE PKK AND ARMING THE TURKISH STATE
KON-MED co-chair Zübeyde Zümrüt saluted the Kurdish leader Abdullah Öcalan and all those resisting in North-East Syria and the guerrilla areas in South Kurdistan, saying, “The ban remains in effect in its 30th year. Germany bans the PKK but sells arms and chemical weapons to the Turkish state that attacks the Kurds.”
“NOBODY CAN BAN THIS IDENTITY”
The other co-chair of KON-MED, Engin Sever, said, “The PKK has been the identity of the Kurdish people for 45 years. The Kurdish people say that ‘The PKK is the people and the people are here’. The people are here in Berlin, in the capital city of Germany. Nobody and no administration can ban this identity!”
“GERMAN GOVERNMENT MUST REMOVE THE BAN”
Lukas Theune, one of the lawyers who filed an application on behalf of the PKK to the Federal Ministry of the Interior for the lifting of the ban last May, also took part in the demonstration and addressed the crowd. “We are here today for the lifting of the PKK ban. We see how important the PKK is. It is mostly important for democracy, more equality, women’s freedom, ecology and human rights. For this reason, the German government cannot maintain the PKK ban any further. It must remove the ban. The German government speaks of a violation of international law but does not mention who commits it. It does not highlight the fact that this crime is committed by the Turkish state and the Erdoğan regime, nor does it impose any sanctions. Civilians are massacred by drones and chemical weapons not only within the boundaries of the Turkish state, but also in Syria and Iraq. These acts constitute a clear violation of international law. The German government must change its attitude. The German Minister of Foreign Affairs shouts the slogan ‘Jin, Jiyan, Azadi’ [Woman, Life, Freedom]. She should know where this slogan comes from and why it is important. Stop the criminalization policy against the Kurds.”
A speech on behalf of Iranian revolutionaries said, “It doesn’t matter where we come from; Rojhilat, Rojava or anywhere else in the world. We know where ‘Jin, Jiyan, Azadi’ comes from. We know where and how the Iranian revolution began. Jin, Jiyan, Azadi!”
A statement in the name of the PYD (Democratic Union Party) pointed out that a libertarian mentality has been established in the Middle East in the light of the PKK.