Peace in Kurdistan Campaign protests ban on Kurdish publications and music

Peace in Kurdistan Campaign has issued a statement in solidarity with Kurds protesting the ban on their publications and music in Germany.

On January 26, 2022, a landmark case opened in Germany on a ban imposed in 2019 on leading Kurdish publisher, Mezopotamien Verlag, and Kurdish music distributors, MIR Multimedia.  The German Federal Administrative Court ruled last Wednesday that the Ministry of Interior's decision to prohibit Mesopotamia Publishing House and Mir Muzik in 2019 was "in accordance with the law." The legal battle by the Kurdish institutions will now be taken to a higher court.

Peace in Kurdistan issued a statement in solidarity with Kurdish publishers, writers, musicians and creative artists and "all the Kurdish people who are protesting at this act of state censorship. We call for the ban to be lifted and for the Kurds to be allowed to exercise the right to free expression, publishing and musicianship. Defend the rights to free expression. This is an attack on everyone of us."

On 1 February 2019, the German Federal Ministry of the Interior imposed a ban on the leading Kurdish publisher, Mezopotamien Verlag (Mesopotamia Publishing House) and music distributor MIR Multimedia, charging them both with supporting a terrorist organisation. According to the prosecutor they are alleged to be “sub-organizations of the PKK”. 

Peace in Kurdistan Campaign said that "the action led to the German authorities to seize what has been estimated to be the world’s largest Kurdish music archive along with publisher’s stock amounting to around 50,000 volumes. This represents an enormous suppression of Kurdish literature and culture by a European state, possibly the largest single move against Kurdish culture outside Turkey.

Unsurprisingly, Ankara welcomes this clampdown, which effectively marks an extension of repressive Turkish state policy inside the European Union."

The statement added: "Facing total suppression of Kurdish culture and self-expression in their homeland, Kurdish communities in exile have long expected to enjoy the freedoms and rights that are cherished by all European citizens. They have exercised their rights to self-expression, studied their culture freely, developed their musical traditions and explored their literature through verse and other writings. These works and publications have enabled Kurdish people to pass on their heritage and history to younger generations who have been born in exile and grown up with no direct knowledge of their culture and traditions. Publishers and music distributors have provided a vital function in keeping Kurdish culture alive."

The statement continued: "The suppression of these two leading publishing organisations in Germany is an outrageous attack on the rights of the Kurdish people. It is also a betrayal of the fundamental principles of liberty and freedom of expression that were once seen as Europe’s main legacy to human society and the advance of modern civilisation.

That the German state is now taking such extraordinary repressive measures against a minority migrant community who have sought refuge within German society is a deeply worrying development. It effectively means that the civil rights long taken for granted are to be denied to those who seek to escape from the savage and unrelenting repression that they face in their country of birth. This deplorable action leaves Germany open to the charges that it is acting on behalf of Turkey and that, in fact, it has become little more than Turkey’s sycophant and flunkey."