Germany bans 4th Congress of the KCDK-E

The Kurdish European Association KCDK-E said that its congress, planned for tomorrow in Bergisch Gladbach, has been banned by the German authorities. The board of directors was informed of the ruling by telephone on Friday.

German security authorities have banned the fourth congress of the Kurdish European umbrella organization KCDK-E. As the board of directors informed, the association was told on Friday by the Cologne police that the conference planned for Sunday in Bergisch Gladbach may not take place. At the same time, defamatory reports about Kurdish self-organization and the activities of the umbrella organization were published on German-language news portals such as Focus Online, Kölner Stadtanzeiger and DPA. These reports said, among other things, that "200 high-ranking PKK officials" wanted to come together at the congress. The KCDK-E firmly rejects the allegations.

“The Congress of the Democratic Society of Kurdistan in Europe -KCDK-E- is an officially registered association in Belgium and has the right to organize conferences in all European countries. The reason given by the Cologne authorities for the ban is simply a lie,” explains the organization’s co-presidents, Fatoş Göksungur and Yüksel Koç, to ANF.

According to Göksungur and Koç, delegates from officially registered associations from Belgium, the Netherlands, Great Britain, France, Austria, Switzerland, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Italy, Cyprus, Greece, Canada and Australia had planned to attend the meeting. Likewise, the chairmen and representatives of Kurdish social centers from cities such as Hamburg, Berlin, Hanover, Stuttgart, Frankfurt and Cologne were also invited.

“We were only informed of the ban by phone on Friday evening, although preparations for the congress have been going on for weeks and people are traveling from all over Europe, so that effective legal protection is not granted due to the short notice. We have no written justification for the ban of the event. Rather, the German media seem to be providing targeted information in order to create an environment of hostility.”

The co-chairs added: “The assumption that the delegates are high-ranking PKK executives and thus part of a banned association, is a threat to the very existence of our organisation. This unsubstantiated assertion is intended to silence the Kurdish self-organization. Depriving us of the fundamental rights to freedom of assembly and expression is only the first step.”

Göksungur and Koç continued: “This short-term ban by the German authorities is synonymous with criminalization of the political engagement of Kurdish associations and thousands of people who are members of these social centers, which are organized throughout Europe. A large number of MPs, important personalities and institutions have sent expressions of solidarity to the planned congress. This ban is part of a chronicle of arbitrary political measures taken by the German authorities. The PKK ban not only severely restricts the political participation rights of the Kurdish community in Germany, but also represents an obstacle to a political solution to the Kurdish question in general. We will take legal steps against the ban of our congress.”

What is the KCDK-E                                                         

The KCDK-E was founded in 2015 and is a European umbrella organization of Kurdish associations and institutions. A total of 26 entities make it up. Kurdish social centers from Europe, Canada and Australia, the women's and youth movements, institutions from all parts of Kurdistan and various religious communities are represented by the KCDK-E. A total of 403 associations are linked to the 26 associations and institutions making up the KCDK-E.