Trial of Kurdish politician resumes in Germany

Kurdish politician Gökmen Ç, who has been sued under article 129b of the German Penal Code, is being tried on the grounds of "encouraging citizens to participate in events such as the Kurdish Culture Festival and Newroz.

Kurdish politician Gökmen Ç. (38) has been sued in Germany based on Article 129b of the German Penal Code. Gökmen Ç., detained in Frankfurt on January 2, has been held in Koblenz Prison since. The first hearing of Kurdish politician Gökmen Ç. was held at Koblenz State High Court on October 20. The indictment against him also shows how the political activities of the Kurds are criminalized. Between 2017-2019 Gokmen Ç. was tried for allegedly being a PKK member in charge of the states of Hessen, Rheinland-Pfalz and Saarland as the 'regional executive'. He also faces the accusations of encouraging citizens to participate in events such as the Kurdish Culture Festival, Newroz, and organizing their participation in the celebrations.


Speaking to Yeni Özgür Politika newspaper, Barış Yeşil, one of the lawyers of Gökmen Ç., said, "My client is a person who was born and raised here and studied at a university. His file is about the activities he carried out between 2017-2019. When we take a look at it, there is no act of violence, he is just being tried for his political activities."


Underlining that Gökmen Ç's case is the continuation of the case of Kurdish politician Mazhar Turan, who was sentenced to 2 years and 6 months several months ago, lawyer Yeşil added, "There is a lot in common between the two cases. The same delegation is dealing with the case. Same kind of evidences such as phone tapings and messages that were presented in Mazhar's case are being used in Gökmen’s case. That's why I see this case as a continuation of Mazhar's case."


"The court, too, is aware that this case is a political one," said lawyer Yeşil, adding that the only purpose of such cases is to criminalize the Kurdish Freedom Movement which is thus being tried in the person of my client". Yeşil recalled the Belgian judiciary's decision in favor of the PKK and continued as follows: "In the Belgian decision, it was declared that the Kurdish Freedom Movement is not a 'terrorist' organization, there is a bilateral conflict and it is a party to it. Despite this precedent, Germany does not change its political attitude because of its relationship with Turkey based on interests.”

His arrest is not coincidence

Stating that the arrest of Kurdish politician Gökmen Ç. is the outcome of these relations of interest, lawyer Yeşil said: "The decision to arrest my client Gökmen Ç., was shaped on November 27, 2019 which is an important date for the Kurds. However, shortly after his arrest on January 2, 2020 German Chancellor, Angela Merkel went to Turkey. In a joint press release made with Erdogan in Turkey, she announced that Germany considers the PKK a 'terrorist organization' and acts accordingly. In last 5-6 years people were detained each time when a delegation was sent from Germany to Turkey or vice versa. These cases are like a gift to the Erdogan regime.”

Gökmen Ç.'s trial will continue on November 9. The Kurdish politician is expected to give his defense at the next hearing. The dates for the next hearings are 10, 16, 17, 23, 24, 30 November.