'Removing the PKK ban is our main agenda'

The representatives of the Kurdish movements in Europe said that they would make the campaign to delist the PKK their most basic agenda.

The campaign to remove the PKK from the 'terror' list continues in the cities of Kurdistan, the world and European countries.

Following the call of the International Initiative Justice for Kurds, a thousand internationally renowned figures from 30 countries launched the campaign to "delist the PKK" in December 2021.

The campaign to remove the PKK from the terrorist list, carried out in Europe, the USA, Canada and Australia, gained more popularity over time.

However, the campaign led by Kurdish institutions in Europe has recently slowed down. ANF asked campaign representatives why the campaign has decelerated. The Kurdish representatives replied that they could not play their roles sufficiently yet emphasized that they would make the campaign their main agenda as of the end of May.


The Kurdish Women’s Movement in Europe (TJK-E) term spokeswoman Rabia Baldemir stated that the signature campaign did not reach its objectives in a short time and that they would increase their work tempo as women.

Baldemir pointed out that the PKK ban means banning women. “The PKK is a people's movement; it cannot be banned or criminalized. It represents 40 million Kurdish people. We, women, are not the supporters of this campaign, but we are its coordinators. Our first target in the campaign was 300 thousand signatures. We have collected around 140 thousand signatures in the first four months of 2022. However, we do not consider this enough and we criticize ourselves. Although we swiftly accomplished our objective in our campaign '100 Reasons for the Trial of the Dictator, 100 Thousand Signatures', which we launched on November 25, 2020, we could not sufficiently play our role in the campaign launched to remove the PKK, a pro-woman party, from the terror list.”


“States criminalize the Kurds and women in the person of the PKK. There are Luxembourg Court decisions, but European states do not enforce their own laws. They still keep the PKK on that list. However, we could not ensure enough participation in the campaign. We plan to end the campaign in December. Since the summer is looming, there will be festivals, peace and climate actions in almost every city. As TJK-E and its components, we will take part in these festivals and actions with our female identity and collect signatures to remove the PKK from the terrorist list. So, we're going to gain momentum very soon.”


Xase Bingöltekin Kılıç who had been a director of the Association for Solidarity with the Families Who Lost Their Relatives (YAK-DER) for many years and had to come to Berlin due to investigations against him in Turkey, and Susanne Rössling who takes part in the German anti-fascist and Kurdish women's organizations are two activists working actively for the campaign.

“The decision taken by the European Union is unfair and wrong. I want the PKK removed from the terror list. We will never compromise on this. We will complete our signatures. The PKK ban is an unfair practice,” Xase Bingöltekin Kılıç explained the reason for collecting signatures.

“I have been supporting the petition since last November to remove the PKK from the EU terrorist organizations list. Thousands of people support and sign the petition to decriminalize the Kurds and the Kurdish Freedom Movement,” Susanne Rössling said.


KCDK-E Co-chair Yüksel Koç stated that they could not focus on the signature campaign since they focused on street protests on February 15, March 8 and Newroz. “However, the goal of the campaign was the decriminalization of the Kurds. We no longer want the Kurds to be criminalized. For this reason, all our Kurdish activists should make the petition their main agenda. Our self-criticism should be based on reaching the goal of the campaign launched by our friends. It should now be the most important objective of all assemblies, communes and community centres affiliated with the KCDK-E. Unfortunately, we are far from this objective. Therefore, we need to be self-critical and collect more signatures than planned,” he said.


One of the initiators of the signature campaign is the Kurdish Women's Union of Germany (YJK-E).

YJK-E spokeswoman Ayten Kaplan said that as Kurdish women living in Germany, they did not collect enough signatures and that women should embrace the campaign more, since the PKK ban means an attack on women's will and identity.


Engin Sever, co-chair of the largest umbrella organization of the Kurdish Diaspora in Germany, (KON-MED), said that the KON-MED joined the signature campaign late. “We were late. We started late. As the KON-MED, we are quite far from the campaign objective. We are only ten percent successful. The campaign will be our only agenda by the end of May. We will finish the campaign at the beginning of September. Our target group is not only the Kurdish people. In the first place, the assemblies set up tents and booths to collect signatures. Now, committees are being formed. We are contacting unions and allied associations. Some of our friends held talks with local parliaments. They got signatures from parliamentarians. Our campaign will be accelerated in July-August,” Sever concluded.