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Kurdish protesters occupy public broadcast studio
A WDR studio in Düsseldorf. Photo: DPA.

Kurdish protesters occupy public broadcast studio

DPA/The Local · 12 Aug 2016, 10:28

Published: 12 Aug 2016 10:28 GMT+02:00

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The group entered the studios of West German Broadcasting (WDR) in Düsseldorf on Thursday night and occupied the station, police reported.

The demonstrators brought posters, chanted Kurdish slogans and were trying to bring attention to the political situation in Turkey, according to police.

Officials said that overall the demonstration was peaceful and the activists voluntarily left the building after one staff member asked them to. No one was injured.

The Turkish government has been criticized internationally for its crackdown in southeast Kurdish areas in response to deadly attacks by Kurdish militant group the PKK after a ceasefire agreement broke down last year.

A group of German MPs in June filed a war crimes suit against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for his treatment of the Kurdish minority. The suit named in particular an incident in the city of Cizre in the Sirnak province, where NGOs say some 178 civilians were killed in February while taking shelter in basements, and whose bodies were later found burned up - some perhaps burned alive.

The Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) told The Local last week that there has been a rise in the number of Kurds applying for asylum in Germany: More Kurds applied for asylum status in just the first six months of this year than in all of 2015.  

The office did not have figures for how many had applied since the failed coup in July - and since Erdogan has enacted mass detentions of his suspected opponents in the aftermath. But now the Kurdish Community of Germany says that there could be a mass wave of Kurdish asylum seekers because of the events since the putsch attempt.

“I expect that in the short-term there will be 10,000, and in the midterm some 100,000 people from Turkey seeking asylum in Germany if the Erdogan regime continues to fight the minorities and the democratic opposition,” Kurdish Community leader Ali Toprak told Die Welt.

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Toprak said that within Turkey, an estimated 500,000 Kurds are already fleeing their homes because of Turkish government actions in the southeast.

“Many will want to start over in Europe if they continue to be oppressed in Turkey. It cannot be the case that a country that itself takes in refugees also produces refugees.”

Die Welt points out that even before the failed putsch, people in Turkey had reason to seek asylum in Germany: Between 1986 and 2011, Turkish was the main country of origin of asylum applicants in the Bundesrepublik.

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DPA/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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