Statement of the peace delegation banned from leaving Germany for South Kurdistan

At the instigation of the German government, a peace delegation in Düsseldorf has been banned from leaving the country for Hewlêr. The initiative describes the actions of German authorities as active support for Turkey's war in South Kurdistan.

At the instigation of the German government, members of a peace delegation were prohibited from leaving the country for Hewlêr (Erbil) this Saturday by the German Federal Police at Düsseldorf Airport. Below we document a statement of the delegation:

“Since April 23, Turkey has been waging a war of aggression in southern Kurdistan/northern Iraq in violation of international law. The aim of the peace delegation from Germany, which set out on June 12 at Düsseldorf airport, was to document the effects of this war and to raise the issue internationally, to provide solidarity to the people affected, whose villages have been destroyed, and to strengthen civil society peace initiatives in talks with political forces in order to make ways to peace possible. In addition, the solidarity of various democratic forces from Germany with the Kurdish society affected by the war shall be expressed.

Turkey's internal repression and expansionist policy

The Turkish state's attack on South Kurdistan is part of years of provocations and military operations in the Iraqi and Syrian border regions, as well as of Turkey's internal political developments. For almost six years, downright state terrorism has been raging in northern Kurdistan against Kurdish society and its political institutions, especially against the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP). Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the AKP/MHP regime have taken up the cause of subjugating not only the Kurdish, but all democratic opposition forces within Turkey. However, Turkey's policy of expansion and occupation has long transcended Turkish borders. Thus, in recent years, the Turkish regime has repeatedly undertaken attacks and invasions in violation of international law; whether in southern Kurdistan or Rojava (northern Syria). In 2018, Turkey annexed the previously self-governing canton of Afrin in a weeks-long war against the People's and Women's Defense Units (YPG and YPJ). And in October 2019, with the support of Islamist groups, the towns and regions around Girê Spî (Tal Abyad) and Serêkanîyê (Ras al-Ain) were occupied. Thus, Turkey has become an occupying state in Syria, which also makes no signs of withdrawing from these regions.

Since the beginning of the year, Turkey has now also intensified its aggressive war strategy on South Kurdistan. The goal is the displacement of the Kurdish population and the exploitation of natural resources. Thus, according to the Christian Peacemaker Teams, already in the first weeks of the Turkish operation, more than 1500 people have been displaced from 22 villages in Duhok governorate and thousands of hectares of agricultural land have been burned by the Turkish military.

However, like many of Turkey's military provocations as well as years of occupation outside the borders of Turkish territory, the war that has been ongoing since April 23 does not receive public attention. Breaking this silence of the international media, civil society organizations, parties and governments in order to pave the way for peace is our main intention. With this intention our peace delegation wanted to enter South Kurdistan on June 12.

Many members of the delegation had already campaigned in Germany and across Europe for the liberation of Kobanê, Maxmur, Afrin and Kirkuk from the reign of terror of the jihadist militia "Islamic State" (IS). This solidarity has been instrumental in enabling the Turkish-backed IS and other groups such as Al-Qaeda to expand their terror against humanity.

Exit ban for peace delegation in Düsseldorf

At Düsseldorf airport, 17 delegation members were banned from leaving the country for Erbil (ku. Hewlêr) in southern Kurdistan by the federal police. After interrogation, some participants were banned from leaving for Iraq for one month. This ban is based on flimsy arguments and once again highlights the role of the Federal Republic in the war in Kurdistan. Thus, according to the Federal Police, the presence of the delegation from Germany is understood as passive support against the war of aggression of the NATO partner. In addition, the delegation would negatively strain relations between the federal government and Turkey, the police claimed.

The fact that Turkey, as a NATO partner also of the German government, is waging a war in Iraqi territory in violation of international law does not seem to affect Germany's relations with Turkey. Rather, critical reporting by international observers and the peace delegation is not desired and is seen as a foreign policy threat to the German government.

German government remains silent despite Turkey's breach of international law

Last year, the Scientific Service of the German Parliament had already assessed a cross-border military operation by Turkey against the PKK in southern Kurdistan as contrary to international law. Although the report pointed out possible courses of action, according to which Germany could "work toward a different solution to the conflict" and also make "a clear designation of a violation of international law," the German government preferred to remain inactive. To date, the German government has also remained silent on the current military operation. Today's travel ban shows once again the active support of Turkey by the German government. It is probably to be understood as a clear signal to Turkey to continue its occupation operation in Kurdistan, which is contrary to international law.

To prevent a delegation for the investigation of a war against international law, consisting of politicians and peace activists from doing their work, as it happened today by the German government in Düsseldorf, is an open and clear attack on the peaceful and democratic coexistence of people.

We demand the immediate end of the appeasement policy of the German government towards Turkey!

We will continue our efforts to end the Turkish war in Kurdistan and our solidarity with the Kurdish people.”