How the Kurds are politically oppressed in Germany

Released from prison in Germany in 2021, Kurdish activist Mazhar Turan is under supervision. He is not allowed to leave his place of residence, and has to give a signature to the police four times a week.

Mazhar Turan has spent almost a decade of his life in prison, including almost seven years in Turkey and two and a half years in Germany. The Kurdish activist was convicted of membership of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) at the Koblenz Higher Regional Court and released from prison in December 2021 after serving his full sentence. Since then, he has been under supervision. He is no longer allowed to leave his place of residence and has to give a signature to the police four times a week. His passport was confiscated, his unlimited right of residence cancelled. The residence has to be renewed every month.

According to the daily newspaper Yeni Özgür Politika, Turan has a heart condition and needs permission even to visit a doctor because he has to leave his place of residence to do so. He is not allowed to visit Kurdish associations or contact certain activists. He also has to pay 64,000 euros for court costs.

The measures against Mazhar Turan will remain in place for five years. "I am being isolated. Like the whole trial against me, these conditions are not a legal decision, but a political one," says Turan. Nevertheless, he is trying to defend himself through legal channels. According to the report, he has filed a complaint against the conditions at the Administrative Court in Gießen. The hearing took place this week, and the judgement is expected within a month.

As is usual in PKK trials in Germany, Mazhar Turan was not accused of any individual offence or acts of violence. The Koblenz court took into account in the defendant's favour that he had neither used violence nor exerted pressure in his activities. There were also no indications that he had planned or carried out attacks or had been involved in such attacks.