Tens of thousands of attendees from across Europe converged in Frankfurt on Saturday to celebrate the 31st Kurdish Cultural Festival, a vibrant and significant event for the Kurdish community. Organised for the 31st consecutive year since 1992, this festival marked a historic moment for Kurds in Europe.
The annual festival, which returned to Germany after a hiatus of over 5 years, has been hosted in the Netherlands during that period. Participants from Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France, Holland, and Belgium flocked to Frankfurt to partake in the festivities, showcasing the rich tapestry of Kurdish culture through a wide array of activities and performances.
Among the notable guests were officials from the municipality of Frankfurt, representatives of the Kurdish friendship groups, and delegates from Kurdish organisations. Erem Kansoy from Medya Haber TV handed the microphone to participants, who shared their perspectives on the event.
Rudolf Bürckgen, a member of the German Left Party, voiced their support for the Kurdish movement. He expressed opposition to the Turkish army’s actions in North and East Syria, and Northern Iraq and called for the release of imprisoned Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Öcalan. Bürckgen also emphasised their party’s stance against the banning of PKK in Germany and its advocacy for the PKK’s freedom across Europe.
Kolja Müller, the Chairman of Social Democratic Party (SPD) in Frankfurt, expressed his delight at being present at the festival. He highlighted Frankfurt’s diverse and international character, with over 180 cultures, including Kurdish culture. Müller shared his personal connection to Kurdish culture.
Ayten Kaplan, a spokeswoman for the Kurdish Women’s Movement in Europe (TJK-E), discussed the festival’s history. She mentioned that the last official festival held in a stadium was in 2011 in Cologne, and since then, they had shifted to rallies and demonstrations due to state opposition. Kaplan also expressed gratitude for the official support from the Frankfurt municipality and stressed the importance of promoting and preserving their cultural identity.
Fatoş Göksungur, the Co-chair of the European Umbrella Organisation KCDK-E, elaborated on the festival’s significance. She highlighted the significance of festival’s return to Germany after such a long hiatus. Göksungur explained that the festival aimed to address collective Kurdish concerns, such as the isolation of Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Öcalan, paying tribute to martyrs in Paris, and commemorating the centenary of the Treaty of Lausanne. These themes were the central focus of the festival.