Germany: 'Not a terrorist organisation' - Thousands march against ban on Kurdistan Workers' Party in Berlin
Thousands of protesters marched through the streets of Berlin on Saturday in a rally against the ban on the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).
The march, which started from Hermannplatz, began with a minute’s silence to remember the Kurdish fighters who had lost their lives in the struggle for independence.
Banners such as 'Defend Kurdistan against the Turkish occupation' or 'No weapons export to Turkey and the whole Middle East' could be seen, while protesters marched chanting 'Jin Jiyan Azadi' and 'Erdogan Terrorist'.
The march went through Kreuzberg, a well-known Turkish area without any incident and with a heavy police presence.
The protesters claim that the PKK is not a terrorist organisation and that the Federal Government’s decision to ban them is being used to criminalise the Kurdish freedom movement worldwide.
“Even the EU Parliament has confirmed that this is not a terrorist organization, but an organization that is waging a national armed liberation struggle,” said protester Manuel Ludwig.
“We are of the opinion that this is also a right to self-determination or is a form of self-defence that the Kurdish people rightly have and the PKK is wrongly called a terrorist organization," he added.
Belgium's Court of Cassation ruled in 2020 that the PKK is not a terrorist organization but a party to a conflict under international law.
In Germany, the PKK was banned on November 26, 1993, by the federal minister of the interior at the time, Manfred Kanther.
The Turkish government also classifies the PKK as a terrorist organisations.
Ankara blamed YPG, (the Kurdish militia in Syria) and the PKK for the attack on Istanbul's Istiklal shopping street on November 13 and started a military offensive with airstrikes against YPG and PKK positions in Northern Iraq and Syria. Both organisation had denied involvement in the attacks though and investigations are still ongoing in Turkey.