German government opposed to lifting PKK banSource : http://www.dailysabah.com/politics/2015/02/27/german-government-opposed-to-lifting-pkk-ban
Published 22 hours ago
The German government opposed a proposal on Thursday by the opposition Left Party to lift a ban on the PKK.
Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrat bloc defended the ban, which has been effective since 1993, at a debate initiated by the Left Party at the Federal Parliament.
"The PKK has not changed its ideology and agenda, which is against international understanding," Christian Democrat lawmaker Clemens Binninger said.
The PKK has fought for an independent Kurdish state since 1984, and its terrorist attacks claimed almost 36,000 lives in Turkey. Turkey, the U.S. and the EU list the PKK as a terrorist organization.
Germany, which is home to around 700,000 Kurdish immigrants, outlawed the PKK in 1993, following violent protests by its members.
Binninger said that since 2004 German courts have convicted more than 4,500 PKK suspects for various crimes, which he argued illustrated the need for the ban.
According to reports by the German Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV), the PKK has 13,000 adherents in the country. It is believed to use various associations for fundraising and recruiting new members.
Merkel's coalition partner, the Social Democrats, and the opposition Green Party also defended the ban during the parliamentary debate on Thursday.
The opposition Left Party proposed lifting the ban on the PKK and demanded amnesty for convicted PKK members, arguing that the group has acknowledged the principle of democratic struggle and has also become an important actor in its fight against ISIS in Syria and Iraq.
The Left Party has 64 seats in the 631-member German parliament. Merkel's conservative-left coalition government enjoys an overwhelming majority in parliament.
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