It is time for analyses and discussions to fight for an end to the ban.
This November marks the 25th anniversary of the ban of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) initiated in 1993 by Chancellor Dr. Manfred Kanther. Since then thousands of criminal procedures have been taken against Kurdish activists and supportive left activists, who publicly displayed the allegedly forbidden PKK symbols. Due to the Vereinigungsdelikte (Association Offences) of the criminal law paragraph 129, 129a and 129b (membership in a criminal/terrorist organisation), we have seen hundreds of indictments, arrests and sentences of people who did nothing more than engage in a political struggle for the Kurdish Freedom Movement.
The continuity of repression over the course of 25 years is remarkable, irrespective of the German Federal government coalition, the political developments in Turkey and Kurdistan, as well as that of the Kurdish Freedom Movement. Due to the economic and political importance of German-Turkish relations, the repression of the Kurdish opposition and parts of the Turkish and German left in Germany is inherent in the decision-making processes in the criminal justice system. The repression is led by the Federal Criminal Police Office, the Federal Prosecutor’s Office, the Secret Service and the inner circles in the Ministry of Interior of the federal states, as well as the foreign ministry. The answers given by the Federal Government to parliamentary inquiries make it clear that these institutions have a fixed conception of the PKK as an enemy entity, which has little to do with the reality in the Middle East as well as Germany in 2018.
As a legal aid foundation AZADÎ has since 1996 been supporting people who have been criminalised due to their political activities in Germany. The 25 year-long ban is good reason for us and MAF-DAD (Association for International Law and Democracy) to organise a conference in Berlin on 20th October to review this period and to convey the continuity of the German-Turkish relations to young people.
However, the main focus is on the current developments. Since the judgement of the Federal Court in 2010, also to prosecute politically active Kurds according to §129b of the criminal code as members of a foreign terrorist organisation, AZADÎ is supervising an unprecedented number of Kurdish political prisoners. This is happening to other revolutionary organisations in Turkey, as the trail against alleged members of TKP/ML in Munich has shown. Turkey is politically developing towards fascism and in this process has expanded its war against the Kurdish Movement with the invasion of Syria and Iraq. These invasions were against international law but have been unopposed by the Federal Government and have not had any consequences for the Turkish government. With the ban of the YPG/YPJ and PYD symbols (Syrian Kurdish opposition), Germany sides with Turkey. Since early 2018 many Kurdish and Left institutions have been raided in Germany by the counter-terrorism police.
The European dimension will be discussed during this conference as well. In 2017, a Belgian court decided that the PKK is not a terrorist organisation, but instead classified it as an armed conflict party according to international law. A case is pending at the European Court in Luxembourg against the political stigmatisation of the PKK in relation to the EU terror list. This case has since May 2014 been taken forward by human rights lawyers in Amsterdam.
We will have many opportunities for interesting analyses and discussions, while also developing perspectives to finally put an end to the anachronism of the PKK-ban in Germany.
We look forward to welcoming you in Berlin on 20th October!
25 Years PKK Ban – 25 Year Repression and Erosion of Democracy in service of German foreign policy
20th October 2018, Karl-Liebknecht-Haus, Rosa-Luxemburg-Saal
1-.15-11.15: 25 years PKK ban, a history of the ban, political and practical ramifications
Edith Lunnebach, lawyer (involved in the ‘Düsseldofer Prozess’)
Mehmet Demir, Kurdish politician
Monika Morres, Azadî
The European dimension of the PKK persecution
10.20-11.50: Court of Appeal in Brussels: PKK is not a terrorist organisation but a conflict party according to international law
Jan Fermon, lawyer from Brussels, Belgium
11.50-12.15: Current proceeding to remove the PKK from the EU terror list at the EU Court (EuGH) in Luxemburg
Repression against the Kurdish Movement in Germany
12.20-12.50: Current situation and background to the §129a/b criminal procedure
Lukas Theune, lawyer
12.50-13.15: Expansion of the criminal procedure to the Syrian-Kurdish organisations (ban of symbols)
Dr. Peer Stolle, lawyer, chairman of the republican lawyers and bar association, RAV
13.15-14.30: Lunch break
14.35-15.05: German and Turkish Secret Services, then and now
Jürgen Hoppe, former editor at Westdeutsche Rundfunk (WDR)
15.05-15.35: Activities oft he Turkish Secret Service MIT in Germany
Cansu Özdemir, MP of the left party Bürgerschaft Hamburg
15.35-16.05: Erosion of democratic rights in the Federal Republic of Germany: restructuring of the security structure towards a preventive prosecution
Heiner Busch, board member of the Committee for Democracy and Basic Rights
16.05-18.00 Final discussion