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News 12 Feb 18

Turkish Media Praise Kosovo For Banning Kurdish Event

Turkish media have welcomed Kosovo's decision to ban Friday's planned Kurdish music night in Pristina, claiming it would have spread 'terrorist' propaganda.

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Archive photo: AP

Turkish media have welcomed Kosovo's decision to ban a musical event called “Freedom to Kurdistan”, planned to take place in Pristina on Friday, claiming it aimed to spread propaganda in favour of terrorist organizations that are at war with Turkey.

Kosovo police stopped the event, organized by Kosovo’s “Sabota Social Centre” on Friday, startling many who wondered about the true cause of such an action.

Police on Saturday said only that they had received information about an “unannounced activity” and that the organizers lacked proper permits.

They also said that they had information that unnamed individuals might try to cause an incident during the event “that could result in consequences”.

Police confirmed they brought in two people for questioning after one of them was found with a knife while the other one failed to show an ID.

Turkish media said the event was aimed at disseminating propaganda for the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, PKK, which has been fighting against the Turkish state for several decades and the People’s Protection Units, YPG, which was established in Syria by Syrian Kurds.

While the PKK is recognized as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the US and many European countries, the People’s Protection Units are not broadly recognized as a terrorist organization and are one of the most prominent US-backed groups in Syria.

However, Ankara claims that this organization is no more than PKK’s Syrian branch which poses a threat to Turkey’s security.

According to Turkey's Anadolu Agency on February 10, the Kosovo association had previously conducted social media campaigns against the Turkish armed forces and their ongoing operation in northern Syria against Kurdish forces there, as well as against ISIS/ISIL.

“Following an announcement made by the social media account of the ‘Sabota Social Centre’, which planned to propagate the propaganda for the YPG/PKK terrorist organization under the guise of a ‘Kurdish Music Night’, the [Kosovo] prosecutor's office ordered a halt to any such activity,” the news agency wrote.

The Turkish military say their current military operation in Syria is aimed at creating a secure and stable zone along the Turkish border as well as to protect the Syrian people from the oppression and cruelty of “terrorists”.

The breakdown of central authority in Syria has raised fears in Ankara that Kurdish groups could create a de facto Kurdish state there, which would further incentivise Kurdish separatists in southeast Turkey.

Turkish military intervention caused friction between Turkey and the US since the Afrin region was controlled by the US-trained and armed Kurdish groups.

Turkish minority leaders in Kosovo also condemned the event and accused the organisers of making a propaganda for “terrorist groups”.

Turkish Yenisafak Newspaper’s news on February 11, quoted the leader of Turkish Democratic Party of Kosovo, KDTP, and minister for Public Administration, Mahir Yagcılar condemning the event and describing it as a provocation with a written statement.

Yagcilar also urged Kosovo citizens to avoid activities that would damage Kosovo's image and the country's relations with Turkey, the newspaper wrote.

"Displaying this kind of behaviour against Kosovo's true and indifferent friend Turkey is baseless and meaningless. In fact, it is to the detrimental to Kosovo”, Yagcılar was cited as saying.

Another Turkish minority representative, Kosovo MP from the KDTP party, Fikrim Damka, who spoke to Anadolu Agency, went one step further.

"We have to find out whether this association is registered with the [Kosovo] Ministry of Public Administration or not” he said, adding that if this is not the case, “it must be abolished and closed down."

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