Thousands of people and over 50 institutions gathered in Berlin on Saturday calling for the removal of the Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK) from the government’s list of proscribed terrorist organisations, ANF reported.
The protest was organised by the ‘Lift the PKK Ban’ Initiative, a group of 54 German, Kurdish and migrant organisations, and took place in Berlin’s Hermannplatz under the slogan “Pave the way for peace, lift the PKK ban!”
The protesters called on the German government to lift the PKK ban and to put an end to discrimination against the Kurds.
The start of the protest was delayed by police intervening asking the protesters to take down banners and symbols they said were prohibited, but eventually the crowd moved off, carrying banners with the slogan, ‘Jin Jiyan Azadî’ (Woman, Life, Freedom) in support of the Kurds in Kurdish Iran (Rojhilat), and banners protesting Turkey’s attack on North and East Syria (Rojava).
The ban on the activities of the PKK in Germany was ordered by the Federal Minister of Interior Manfred Kanther on 26 November 1993.
Lawyers Lukas Theune and Peer Stolle applied to the Federal Ministry of Internal Affairs to lift the ban on PKK activities in May this year. There is yet to be any acknowledgement of receipt of the application, ANF reported.
Earlier this year, a campaign by the international initiative Justice for Kurds, collected 1.5 million signatures calling for the removal of the PKK from the list of terror organisations.
The PKK is a Kurdish armed group founded by Abdullah Öcalan in 1978, devoted to the Kurdish struggle. The PKK is on EU terror lists at the behest of the Turkish government. However, campaigns continue for its delisting and several European courts have issued favourable rulings to that end over the years.
In June, Belgium’s Foreigners Litigation Council ruled in the asylum case of a Kurdish citizen of Turkey that as a whole, acts committed by the PKK cannot be considered terrorist acts.