Hakan Taş detained for hours at Hewler Airport

Berlin-based left-wing politician Hakan Taş has been detained for 15 hours by KDP security authorities at Hewler Airport. He was reportedly told to stay out of "certain things." "I felt psychologically pressured," he said.


Berlin city councilor Hakan Taş of the Left Party (DIE LINKE) was detained for 15 hours by KDP authorities in the security area of Hewlêr (Erbil) airport. The politician, who is of Kurdish origin, had traveled to the capital of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq from Istanbul the previous day as a member of a peace delegation. He was not allowed to leave the airport until Saturday afternoon. Taş told ANF that he had been interrogated three times during this time. He said he had been advised by the authorities to stay out of "certain things." According to Taş, there was no response to questions about what exactly was meant by this.

"I felt psychologically pressured," Taş said. The 54-year-old's passport was taken away by security personnel, he said. He had to switch off his cell phone while trying to contact the German embassy. According to Taş, he was detained in an unhygienic room and was not given anything to eat or drink. "I was deprived of my freedom for hours," Taş said. In order to avoid persecution by KDP authorities and not jeopardize his contacts, the Berlin politician is currently staying outside Hewlêr.

Taş: Demanding peace is a human right

"Demanding and defending peace is a human right," said Taş. He fights for peacemaking initiatives not only as a politician within the Left Party, but also in his private life. He also wants to continue working for peace and democracy in Kurdistan. No one can stop this, he said. Taş plans to fly back to Germany via Turkey next week.

Cansu Özdemir prevented from leaving Germany

Meanwhile, a trip by Cansu Özdemir, co-chairwoman of the Left Party parliamentary group in Hamburg, to South Kurdistan has been prevented in Germany. Özdemir and sixteen other delegates of the peace initiative #Delegation4Peace were denied departure to Hewler and Iraq respectively by the federal police at Düsseldorf airport. In the justification for the exit ban, the Federal Police explained that the delegation could damage the reputation of the Federal Republic of Germany abroad.

Delegates on hunger strike

Other delegates are stuck in the transit area of the airport in Hewlêr, including five activists from Switzerland. They are to be deported on Tuesday. Among them is the Kurdish exiled politician and ex-mayor of Varto, Demir Çelik. He and the four other Swiss citizens have been protesting for hours with a hunger strike against their arrest and planned deportation. The Dutch journalist Fréderike Geerdink is also not allowed to enter South Kurdistan and is supposed to return with the next plane.