Germany bans publishing houses over alleged PKK links

Interior ministry declares ban against two companies ‘posing as publishers’ to benefit outlawed Kurdish group.

The federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia NRW introduces the 46-members strong new police unit BFE specialized in arrests and evidence preservation in Bochum
German police conducted raids on the companies' premises in the states of North Rhine-Westphalia and Lower Saxony [File: Wolfgang Rattay/Reuters]

Germany has declared a ban on two publishing companies for allegedly being linked to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). 

The ban against Mezopotamien Publishing and MIR Multimedia was announced on Tuesday just hours after German authorities conducted raids on their premises in the states of North Rhine-Westphalia and Lower Saxony.

They used the “disguise of publishing companies” to benefit the PKK, which Germany banned as a “terrorist group” in 1993, the ministry said.

“[The groups] used their income to sustainably further the activities of the terrorist organisation in Germany and Europe. This systematically undermined the effects of the ban on the PKK,” the ministry said.

The website of Mezopotamien Publishing advertised Kurdish political texts, including by jailed PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan, while the site of MIR Multimedia said it mainly promoted Kurdish music.

Kurdish organization NAV-DEM condemned the move to ban the groups with its director Tahir Kocer saying the German government was furthering an attempt by the Turkish government to obliterate Kurdish identity.

About three million people with Turkish roots, many of them ethnic Kurds, live in Germany making them the largest immigrant group in the country.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in a lingering dispute with Berlin, has accused Germany of doing too little to crack down on his opponents, including the PKK.

Tens of thousands killed


The separatist PKK is listed as a terrorist organisation in Turkey, the European Union and the United States.

The PKK has waged a decades-long armed fight against the Turkish state that has resulted in the deaths of tens of thousands of people.

German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said, “Because the PKK is still active despite the ban in Germany, it is necessary to put the PKK in its place and enforce the law”.

The ministry said the PKK is “by far the largest foreign extremist organisation in Germany” with an estimated 14,500 followers.

German law enforcement launched thousands of proceedings against the PKK, prosecuted more than 90 people since 1992, and banned about 50 PKK-linked groups, the ministry said.

Source: News Agencies