MAINZ, Germany – Politicians in Germany, home to a large Kurdish diaspora, condemned a Turkish military crackdown, following reports that nearly 70 fighters of the Kurdistan Workers‘ Party (PKK) had been killed in several days of fighting.
“This is a quasi-war against (Turkey’s) own population,“ German MP Cem Ozdemir told Germany’s DPA news agency. “They can arrest whom they want, torture whom they want, kill whom they want. You can’t talk of human rights or the rule of law anymore.”
A two-year ceasefire between the PKK and Turkey fell apart in July, shattering peace talks and reviving a conflict that has caused more than 40,000 deaths over three decades.
Tobias Huch of the German Liberal Party condemned Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
“Erdogan is not fighting the PKK, but Kurdish civilians. He takes a brutal revenge for the last elections, where Kurds caused him a severe defeat. A Turkey under Erdogan has no place in the European Union,” he said, referring to Turkey’s long-time bid to join the union.
Thousands of Kurds took to the streets of Germany on Saturday, demanding more pressure on Ankara from the German government to stop the crackdown, which has included military operations almost daily in Turkey’s own southeast, or air attacks on PKK bases in northern Iraq.
Dilan Doski, who has roots in the Kurdistan Region and supports her fellow Kurds from Turkey, said: “We may have ideological differences inside our Kurdish community, but the Turkish aggressions are not just against the PKK, they are also against the Kurdish population of the north.
“I can’t accept that and therefore I’m here in Düsseldorf to protest against Turkey’s policies towards my people,” said Doski, 23.
In a statement to Turkey’s official Anadolu news agency, Turkish security forces said the operations aim “to neutralize the members of the separatist terrorist organization nesting in residential areas,” to “establish public order and security” and to “enable civilians to resume normal living conditions.”
However, clashes mostly hit city centers, leaving many Kurdish civilians wounded or dead.
On Sunday, clashes continued across Turkey’s Kurdish regions. An operation by the Turkish military intensified on the sixth day of a campaign that reportedly had resulted in the death of nearly 70 Kurdish militants, according to Anadolu. Nearly 130 Kurdish civilians have been killed since the war between the PKK and Turkey reignited.
Germany hosts the largest Kurdish and Turkish diaspora communities. It is home to around one million Kurds and twice as many Turks.