Ankara: "Overdue": Seehofer prohibits two PKK associations

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Berlin (dpa) - Federal Interior Minister Horst Seehofer (CSU) has banned two associations that are considered as part of the banned in Germany Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

As the Federal Ministry of the Interior announced, the ban is directed against "Mezopotamien Verlag und Vertrieb GmbH" and "MIR Multimedia GmbH". Since the early morning hours, the ban was carried out in North Rhine-Westphalia and Lower Saxony with searches and the seizure of material. The PKK has been banned in Germany since 1993 and is a terrorist organization in the EU, the US and Turkey.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has repeatedly called on Germany to wage a more determined fight against the PKK. Turkey has also submitted extradition petitions, Erdogan said last autumn after a state visit to Germany.

The German-Turkish MP of the Islamic-conservative ruling party AKP and Erdogan advisor Mustafa Yeneroglu told the German Press Agency that the ban was "overdue and welcome". It has long been known that the associations are "part of the PKK structure in Germany". Yeneroglu also demanded a ban on further PKK replacement organizations in Germany.

Seehofer said according to the announcement of his ministry: "Precisely because the PKK is still active despite the ban in Germany, it is necessary and imperative to put the PKK in their place and to ensure compliance with the legal system," Seehofer said.

After a previous search of the business premises, the suspicion was confirmed that the business operations of both associations alone serve to maintain the organizational cohesion of the PKK, the ministry said. Under the disguise of publishing companies, all business activities would benefit exclusively the PKK. "With their economic returns, the opportunities for action of the terrorist organization in Germany and Europe are sustainably strengthened. This systematically undermines the effects of the PKK ban », it said.

The Kurdish umbrella organization NAV-DEM (Democratic Kurdish Society Center of Germany) condemned the ban. Chairman Tahir Köcer said the Turkish state is trying to eradicate Kurdish identity. With the ban on publishing and music distribution, the German government has now decided to "continue this inhuman policy on German soil". According to the association, thousands of books were confiscated during the raids on March 8, 2018.

According to information from the Federal Ministry of the Interior, the PKK is Germany's "most far-reaching extremist organization of foreigners" with around 14,500 supporters. It uses Germany as a "space of withdrawal, refinancing and recruitment". The law enforcement agencies of the countries have since 2004 "in a very high four-digit number" initiated criminal investigations with PKK reference.

The Attorney General (GBA) has reportedly identified in 180 cases with this reference. According to the GBA, since 1992 more than 70 judgments have been issued by the higher regional courts against functionaries of the PKK in Germany, with whom more than 90 defendants have been convicted.

In addition, since 1993, the federal and state authorities have banned another 52 organizations belonging to the PKK, the ministry said. In 2008, the Federal Ministry of the Interior had occupied the PKK television station Roj-TV with an operating ban for Germany.

REF: https://www.zeit.de/news/2019-02/12/seehofer-verbietet-zwei-pkk-vereinigungen-190212-99-954652

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