German government and the ban of Mir Music and Mesopotamia Pub.

The Merkel government said that earning from Mesopotamia Publishing and Mir Music went solely to finance the PKK and thus justified banning the two publishing houses.

Mesopotamia Publishing and Mir Music were banned last February, after a heavy raid was carried out by police on 12 February at the publishing houses premises. 

German Interior Ministry, Horst Seehofer, ordered the latest raid and subsequent ban of the two important Kurdish cultural institution. 

The decision came after year of persecution and indeed before 12 February both institutions had been raided just a few months earlier. 

The German police seized hundreds of books, Kurdish children books, dictionaries, cultural books as well as Cds. 

The decision to ban the two Kurdish institutions was brought to Bundestag by Die Linke, the opposition left party in Germany. The party asked the parliament which justification was given to approve the seizure of dictionaries and Kurdish music archives. 

The Federal Government gave a scandalous answer to the question tabled Die Linke parliamentary spokesman Simone Barrientos. 

In the 6-pages response seen by ANF, while the government did not respond to many questions, it also said that the PKK had set up Mesopotamia Publishing and Mir Music to use Kurdish culture and music for other purposes [namely getting funds] other than the promotion of culture.

Berlin said ‘no cooperation with Ankara’, but…

The government claims that they are not aware of the fact that the Kurdish audio recordings seized at Mir Music are “the largest Kurdish music archive in Europe”. In accordance, it confirmed that “the material seized will remain confiscated.”

As to the question whether the Turkish state was informed during the process leading to the ban of both institutions or whether there was any connection with the Turkish authorities on this issue, the government said that “there is no such exchange or connection.” However, Turkish state officials, especially Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, have been repeatedly called on the German government to ban Kurdish cultural institutions. 

Kurdish books and Cds a ‘crime’?

The government's response to the seizure as well of the personal information of customers buying products from Mesopotamia Publishing and Mir Music was also scandalous. Those lists were seized in both police raids on 8 March 2018 and 12 February 2019. The Federal Government said that the customer lists confiscated on both occasions were sent to the security services to determine if there was any ‘crime’.

The lists in question consist of the names of those who ordered books and CDs from both institutions. The response by the Berlin government is the last of a series of criminalising policies towards Kurds living in Germany. 

Die Linke Barrientos: 

Die Linke Simone Barrientos reacted strongly to the government defending the ban of Mesopotamian Publishing and Mir Music. Evaluating the government’s response with ANF, Barrientos pointed out that Kurdish culture and music are a part of Germany because of the Kurdish population living in the country.

“However, this response shows that the Federal Government does not recognize Kurdish culture and disregards it. - said Barrientos - Indeed the criminalisation of Kurdish artists and Kurdish works meant that Germany lost two institutions providing important services to Kurdish culture and art. The response also revealed that the government did not value a Kurdish music archive, which is of great importance to the Kurds.”

Deputy Barrientos recently called on the Federal Government to reverse the ban on both organizations. In particular the deputy urged the immediate return of the music archive to make it once again accessible to people.