Banning PKK and YPG is totally outdated, professor tells Kurdpress
Prof Birgit Ammann believes it has to be made clear that there is also a lot of serious critique against both the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and the People's Defense Units (YPG) and their political environment- within and outside the Kurdish communities and that that the ban of both groups is totally outdated in Germany. A professor from the University of Applied Sciences Potsdam, she also said it is virtually impossible and unnecessary to figure the number of the Kurds in the world because Kurds do not need a number to justify their claims.

What follow are her full answers to Kurdpress questions;
You are a prominent expert on Kurdish studies, how do you see this issue? You attended some conferences regarding Kurdish issues in 2006 and 2011.
Yes, I have been observing the Kurdish communities in Europe and especially in Germany since the 1990ies and did quite some systematic research.


How many Kurds live in Europe, especially Germany?
There is no way to give a reliable number of Kurdish individuals since the regular instrument would be nationality in the sense of citizenship. Since - as we all know - there is no Kurdish nation state and therfore no Kurdish citizenship, the regular instruments fail. The definition "Kurdish" can only draw on länguage, self-perception and self-description. It is virtually impossible to figure that out and in my view unnecessary too because Kurds do not need a number to justify their claim for independence or autonomy. There are official nations with a population and/or a territory much smaller than the lowest estimations of Kurds and their areas of settlement.
The numbering issue is especially true for the diaspora where identities change and many people do not define themselves along citizenship be it new or old. A lot of individuals from the second, third and fourth immigrant-generations actually refuse to define themselves in terms of only one group. Nevertheless the number of Kurds is estimated in the media and by researchers and politicians. So please forgive me if I don't speculate on numbers. My own serious and factbased research goes back about 20 yeras ago and is certainly not valid anymore.

Kurdish group symbols like the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and the People Defense Units (YPG) flags are forbidden in Germany but the activity of their supporters in Germany and Europe is visible. Considering the recent agreement between Turkey and two Scandinavian countries regarding putting a halt to these groups' activities, is it possible to completely ban these groups? how it affects the Kurdish issue in Turkey?
Yes, the support for PKK and YPG in Germany is substantial. It has to be made clear though that there is also a lot of serious critique against both groups and their political environment- within and outside the Kurdish communities. I personally strongly believe that the ban of both groups is totally outdated. There is nothing that can be held against - especially YPG - in Germany. There have been no terrorist acts in decades and people have been granted political asylum in very large numbers on the ground of political persecution due to their connections to PKK. A serious public debate - as it should be possible in a democratic system, is not possible since people risk legal consequences if they openly express their support.

How do you see Europe's Attitude towards the Kurds, Kurdistan Region of Iraq, and Kurdish refugees?
There is a lot of sympathy for the Kurds in general, but also a huge lack of knowledge. One huge misunderstandig is, that Kurds are a homogenous group. No people on this earth is homogenous wether it has a state or not. Think of Iran, the US, Germany, Nepal to name just a few examples.
Politics are not just, the support or non-support of different Kurdish regions in different states is not just and in my view deplorable.
Reporter's code: 50101