Germany bars Kurdish group from meeting in Bergisch Gladbach over alleged PKK affiliation
German flag [L] and the logo of the Congress of the European Kurdish Democratic Societies Congress (KCDK-E) [R] –Graphic by Zhyan News Network
Zhyan News Network
SULAIMANI – The German police has banned a meeting of a pro-Kurdish umbrella group in Bergisch Gladbach in Germany’ Cologne that was supposed to took place on Sunday (July 11), citing links to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
On Sunday, nearly 200 members of the Congress of the European Kurdish Democratic Societies Congress (KCDK-E) were supposed to hold its fourth congress in Bergisch Gladbach but they were told by the police on Friday not to gather, Michael Esser, head of the state security department in Cologne, said, reported
by Focus-Online and several German local media outlets.
Founded in 2015, the KCDK-E is the biggest
Kurdish group in Europe, making of about twenty-seven groups and is headquartered in Belgium, but it is active in the European countries in addition to Australia and Canada.
Esser said the ban was due to the group’ links to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which is considered a “terrorist organization” by Turkey, Germany, the US and some European Countries. The KCDK-E denies links to the PKK but has said it respects PKK’s leader Abdulla Ocalan’s ideology.
The PKK is a Kurdish opposition group that has started an armed struggle against Turkish authorities since 1984. It calls for Kurds’ cultural rights in Turkey and is based in the Kurdistan region’s mountainous areas.
“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,” the organization’s co-presidents, Fatos Goksungur and Yuksel Koc, told ANF.
“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,” Goksungur and Yuksel Koc said.
PKK-affiliated ANF said: “defamatory reports about Kurdish self-organization and the activities of the umbrella organization were published on German-language news portals such as Focus Online, Kolner Stadtanzeiger and DPA.”
In June, Germany barred scores
of politicians, lawmakers, activists and journalists from traveling to the Kurdistan Region’s capital Erbil, as they were trying to
deescalate the intra-Kurdish conflicts between the PKK and the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP).