Germany seizes scientific book as photo of Öcalan is on cover

The Düsseldorf Customs have confiscated 500 books because the photo of Abdullah Öcalan is depicted on the cover. The editors of the book on the Kurdish question are renown scientists Thomas Jeffrey Miles and Federico Venturini.

After the raids carried out in 2018 and 2019 against the Mezopotamien Verlag and the music distributor Mir Multimedia, when tons of books and CDs were confiscated, censorship of books in the Kurdish context is now taking place. The Düsseldorf customs authority has withdrawn a complete edition of a book because the cover shows the face of Abdullah Öcalan.

"Your Freedom and Mine: Abdullah Öcalan and the Kurdish Question in Erdogan's Turkey" has been published in 2018 by Black Rose Verlag. It was edited by Dr. Thomas Jeffrey Miley, who teaches at Cambridge University, and Dr. Federico Venturini from the University of Udine in Italy.

The academic book includes an introduction to the Kurdish question as well as documents and interviews with politicians, journalists and civil society figures on issues of human rights in Turkey.

The Kurdish Study Center in Bochum decided to translate the English-language book into Arabic and thus make it available to a wider readership.

The translated book was printed in Cairo and from there sent to Germany in October. But here the entire edition - 500 copies - was confiscated by customs at Düsseldorf Airport because the cover shows a picture of Abdullah Öcalan. In addition, criminal proceedings were initiated against the recipient.


The books have been confiscated in October. Communication scientist Kerem Schamberger, who made the case public, assessed the seizure as a massive attack on the freedom of literature and science: “The book by two scholars is confiscated because the German repression authorities don't like the cover? In the long line of persecution of the freedom movement, this is the next scandal in a country that allegedly places so much emphasis on freedom of the press and freedom of expression. With the exception of Turkey, there is no other state that is so repressive against the Kurdish movement.”