Supporters of the PKK, which is officially classified as a terrorist group by Germany and the EU, have again made propaganda at a German university yesterday without fear of restrictions or penalty. It is the second incident where the terrorist group has been allowed to conduct such activities at German institutions in recent days.
The venue this time was the University of Duisburg-Essen, where a banner writing "DITIB - Puppets of Erdoğan?" with a mosque motif and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's face in the background, went viral on social networks.
The Turkish-Islamic Union for Religious Affairs (DITIB) is one of the largest Islamic organizations in Germany, which funds 900 mosques as of 2016.
The Association of Students from Kurdistan (YXK) and the Union of Female Students from Kurdistan (JXK), which are both umbrella organizations of the PKK, were the two main organizers of the event at the University of Duisburg-Essen.
Why the university administration allowed such an event, even indirectly supporting these groups through allowing advertising, remains unclear.
Upon the inquiry of Daily Sabah, a university official said they themselves "were not sure how the followers of a terrorist organization could organize such events at the university."
"The lecture is held by the students, it has nothing to do with the university," was repeated several times.
When confronted with the fact that the PKK is a terrorist organization on par with Daesh or al-Qaida, the university neither refused nor approved but instead declined any further statements.
Only last week a series of similar PKK propaganda events were organized at the Technical University of Berlin, which included a film screening of "My whole life was a fight" and a speech entitled "Kurdistan on the move," all downplaying the role of the PKK terrorist organization.
Daily Sabah contacted the persons in charge at the German university to learn about the background and motivation of these events. But the phone calls were repeatedly postponed or stalled.
The PKK has continued to spread throughout European countries since 1999. In 2002, the European Commission officially classified the PKK as a terrorist organization.
However, the PKK still enjoys great freedom under the protection of the EU. Ankara has repeatedly warned the EU of the PKK's threat, but the EU continues to allow their activities. Thousands have lost their lives in PKK attacks.
Between 2006 and 2016, Turkey demanded the extradition of a total of 136 PKK terrorists from Germany. The German government agreed to hand over only three of them to the Turkish authorities, the Justice Ministry announced.
Mustafa Yeneroğlu, head of Turkish Parliament's committee on human rights inquiry, tweeted that Duisburg University offered "an environment for propaganda for a branch of the PKK" and said they expected Germany to show "true" solidarity with Turkey against terror.
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