Delegates deported from South Kurdistan received in Berlin and Frankfurt

About half of about 50 members of a peace delegation who were recently prevented from entering Hewlêr are back in Germany. The delegates were warmly welcomed at the airports in Frankfurt and Berlin.

About half of the approximately 50 members of the "International Delegation for Peace and Freedom in Kurdistan", who were prevented from entering Hewlêr (Erbil) in recent days, are back in Germany. They were received at the airports in Frankfurt (Main) and Berlin on Sunday. In addition to delegates from Germany, they include those from Slovenia and Switzerland. Most of them were detained in deportation cells in the basement of Hewlêr airport.

In Frankfurt there were about a hundred people who greeted the members of the delegation with banners and expressed their solidarity in the arrival hall of the airport as well as outside. Thirteen of the activists affected by the deportations from Hewlêr landed at the airport in the metropolis of Hesse, including journalist Franziska Stier, party secretary of Basel's Strong Alternative (BastA!). The deportations were justified by South Kurdistan’s security authorities with "political motives". Demir Çelik, Alican Yıldırır, Cemal Demir, Rabia Baldemir and Mutlu Tatar, who had also traveled to Hewlêr from Switzerland, have also been sent to Frankfurt. The group of five was initially not scheduled to be expelled from South Kurdistan until next Tuesday. To protest against this, the group had gone on hunger strike yesterday.

Among the eight delegates flown out to Berlin are women's activist Birgül Özbolat, Remezan Mendo and Hamburg-based journalist and photographer Hinrich Schultze. "We wanted to travel to Hewlêr to advocate for peace and prevent an intra-Kurdish war," Özbolat said after landing. Mendo pointed out that security personnel in Hewlêr were waiting "with lists in their hands" for the delegates to arrive. "In what way the authorities got hold of these lists of names, I cannot say. In any case, my name is only on certain lists of the Turkish state," Mendo said.

German journalist: We were not told much

Journalist Hinrich Schultze, when asked about the possible background of the prevented entry in Hewlêr, said: "We were not told much. It was always just strong gentlemen who directed us somewhere." He was not questioned by the Kurdish authorities. Schultze was also not given any information about the reasons for the deportation.

Delegation holds talks with KDP politician

The members of the peace delegation who made it to Hewlêr despite obstruction by German, South Kurdistan and Qatari authorities - a group was also held up in Qatar's capital Doha - are currently holding talks with Safeen Dizayee (KDP), the head of the Kurdistan-Iraq Regional Government's foreign affairs department. The delegation is calling for the immediate withdrawal of the Turkish military from southern Kurdistan and a peaceful resolution of all conflicts in the region. A statement on the course of the talks is to follow soon.

Cansu Özdemir: "This measure was clearly unlawful"

Cansu Özdemir, head of the Left Party faction in Hamburg, was prevented from leaving the country on Saturday in Düsseldorf, along with numerous other participants in the peace delegation to South Kurdistan. The arrest of a member of a German state parliament has caused a great stir and caused great indignation. In addition to trade unions, initiatives and the Kurdish umbrella organization KON-MED, the federal executive committee of the party DIE LINKE has also demanded that German authorities must not become Erdogan's henchmen. Özdemir stated that there would be a legal repercussion, as the measures taken by the federal police were clearly illegal. Meanwhile, Hamburg's parliamentary president Carola Veit (SPD) expressed that the actions of the Düsseldorf airport security authorities were also unconstitutional. According to the Basic Law as well as the constitution of the city, members of parliament may not be arrested or otherwise hindered in their freedom and in the exercise of their mandate during the term of their mandate. Veit announced that "for sure" the parliamentary control committee in Hamburg would also deal with the matter.