German police bar dozens of politicians from traveling to Erbil
A group of about twenty politicians and activists are prevented and detained at Dusseldorf International Airport, Germany, June 12. The group wanted to fly to Erbil to advocate for peace following recent intra-Kurdish tensions between the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) in the border areas of Duhok governorate, Kurdistan Region, Iraq. Photo by Hamburg-based Left Party (Die Linke) lawmaker Cansu Özdemir
Zhyan News Network
SULAIMANI – A group of about twenty people including a Hamburg Parliament lawmaker was arrested by the federal police forces in Dusseldorf in Germany early on Saturday (June 12) as they had boarded a flight from the city’s airport to Erbil allegedly to try to deescalate currents intra-Kurdish tensions.
The group, consisted of seventeen members including Hamburg-based Left Party (Die Linke) lawmaker Cansu Özdemir, wanted to document the impacts
of the current Turkish operation in the Kurdistan Region’s northern Duhok and advocate for peace, according to a media outlet affiliated with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
Özdemir, condemned the detentions on twitter.
“What happened today is reminiscent of # Erdoğan methods. It was examined whether the delegation could damage the reputation of the Federal Republic abroad,” Ozdemir said,
noting she and her colleagues were interrogated individually.
Since March 23, Turkey has started an operation against the PKK in Duhok’s border areas and has erected several new military bases adding up to almost fourth others in the Kurdistan Region.
The conflict has pitted the
ruling Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) against the PKK as the former enjoys cordial relations with Turkey.
"We subjected a group of around 20 people to an intensive border police exit control," Christin Fußwinkel, spokeswoman for the federal police at Düsseldorf International Airport, told German TV
An exit ban had been issued against eight people as well among those detained, Fußwinkel said.
“The aim was to check whether persons from this group could pose a risk that could permanently damage the security concerns of the Federal Republic of Germany abroad,” the police official told the news agency without providing further information.
Former mayor of Sur municipality in Diyarbakir Abdullah Demirbaş, one of the delegates arrested in the German airport, said that
they intended to fly to Erbil to try to meet with KDP leader Masoud Barzani and Iraqi President Barham Salih to try to deescalate the current high tensions between the warring sides.
Also on Saturday, a group of five delegates went on
hunger strike as they were not allowed to leave the transit area of Erbil International Airport following their arrival from Switzerland.
"We wanted to work here to prevent an intra-Kurdish war," Demir Çelik, co-chair of the Federation of Democratic Alevis (FEDA), told ANF.
A group of politicians, journalists and activists including German lawmaker Hakan Tas were also detained by
the security forces at the Erbil airport and deported back to Germany hours after they had arrived in Erbil.
“#akp has taken over the #kurdistan region in #iraq. told the guys in charge here that they should put an erdoğan portrait next to their Barzani picture,” Dutch journalist, one of the detained tweeted.
On Friday, The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Ministry of Interior accused the
PKK of interfering with the internal affairs of the Region by “sending people with European passports” to “spoil the Region’s stability under peace and freedom groups.”
The KDP is the biggest ruling party and main component of the KRG.
Experts and officials have warned of a new civil war between the KDP and PKK, wary of a previous civil war in the nineties that left thousands killed and injured on both sides.