The Peace Initiative in Kurdistan, the German-Kurdish Friendship Association and the UTA Women’s Council, which are all based in Dresden, Germany, have been removed from the “International Week Against Racism” events organised by the local municipality. The cited reason for the exclusion is the groups’ ”proximity/affinity to the PKK”, Özgür Politika reports.
The Peace Initiative in Kurdistan, the German-Kurdish Friendship Association and the UTA Women’s Council were founded in Dresden, in solidarity with the Kurdish people. The three organisations were keen to attend an event as part of “International Week Against Racism”, which is held between 15 March and 6 April every year and is organised by the Dresden municipality.
The subject of the event this year was the newly published book about the Kurdish teenager Halim Dener, who was killed at the age of 16 by German police in 1994 in Hanover. The organisation authorities first approved the event as part of the week. Later, however, the Peace Initiative in Kurdistan was informed of their exclusion via an e-mail saying that ”their attendance of the event is rejected; the German office for the Protection of the Constitution classified you as a ‘sub-organisation of the PKK’.” The title of “public benefit organisation”, which was given to the UTA Women’s Council in Dresden was also recently removed for the same reason.
‘It is an insult against Kurdish people in Germany’
Arguing against the rejection, the three organisations wrote an open letter which was presented in front of the Dresden municipality building.
The following statements were included in the letter:
“-It is an exact example of an intimidation attempt, and an insult against Kurdish people in Germany.
-It is inexplicable that an immigrant community is excluded from an activity organised to ”express anti-racism”. Preventing people who have experienced war, genocide, exile and oppression for decades from expressing their problems is also part of the racist norm.
-As a reason for the decision, the city administration emphasises our close relations with the PKK. In short, it draws attention to the the ban of the PKK in Germany, for the purpose of maintaining German-Turkish relations.
-The truth is the PKK is part of an armed struggle in Turkey and it is not a “terrorist organisation”. Belgium’s highest court ruled in March 2019 that the PKK did not commit terrorist acts and it was removed from the European Union’s list.
-The only reason to define the Dresden Kurdish-German Friendship Association as a “sub-organisation of the PKK” is the unveiling of the YJK-E flag on 3 May 2019. This means that we are excluded because of the flag of an organisation which allegedly opened at an information booth two years before the “International Week Against Racism” event.”
In the open letter titled “We owe respect and recognition rather than pressure and distrust towards the organisations and their people”, the city administration was asked to apologise to the Kurds in Dresden and throughout Germany for this decision.