The book ‘Your Freedom and Mine: Abdullah Öcalan and the Kurdish Question in Erdoğan’s Turkey’ (published by Black Rose in 2018) has been controversially confiscated by the administration of Düsseldorf Airport in Germany. The editors of the book – Dr. Thomas Jeffrey Miley from Cambridge University in England and Dr. Federico Venturini from the University of Udine in Italy – have protested against this action in the strongest terms.
The book, which has been translated into several languages, was reportedly confiscated by the German authorities because of the picture of Kurdistan Workers’ Party’s (PKK) leader Abdullah Öcalan on it. The editors of the book, Dr. Thomas Jeffrey Miley and Dr. Federico Venturini, issued a press release in which they stated: “We have been just informed that the Arab translation of a book that we co-edited, ‘Your Freedom and Mine: Abdullah Öcalan and the Kurdish Question in Erdoğan’s Turkey’, has been confiscated by the administration of Düsseldorf Airport whilst in transit in Germany and the owner of the book is facing a criminal investigation.
“The authorities have justified their decision by saying that they have submitted the book to be checked by a committee after seeing Öcalan’s picture on the cover to find out if the content is in order and complies with the law. So far, we have not received any feedback from the airport and we do not know when the book will be ‘released'”.
Referring to Abdullah Öcalan as the leader of the Kurdish Freedom Movement and the Kurdish Mandela, the editors stated that “the book offers crucial insights into the dramatic history, reality and prospects of the Kurdish Question in Turkey by combining historical surveys, human rights reports, interviews, personal accounts, geopolitical analysis and political philosophy. The volume is the remarkable work of many contributors, including politicians, academics, journalists, and key leaders inside the peace movement”.
To highlight this very point, they noted that contributors to the book included Ögmundur Jónasson (Iceland’s former Minister of Justice), Miren Gorrotxategi (Senator of the Spanish Parliament), Andrej Hunko (a member of the German Bundestag), Ulla Sandbæk (a Danish Member of the European Parliament), Julie Ward (an English Member of the European Parliament) and Francis Wurtz (a French Member of the European Parliament).
“Banning a book is a reminder of a dark past in Europe”, they observed and added that “it is not acceptable in Germany, which is regarded as one of the standard-bearers of democracy. We demand the end of any criminal proceedings regarding the book; the immediate release of the book; the delisting the PKK from the EU terrorist list and the end of military sales to Turkey”.