According to Wikipedia:

In Germany, there is a ban on PKK [Kurdistan Workers' Party] symbols that, as of March 2017, is officially extended the YPG [People's Protection Units] and YPJ [Women's Protection Units] flags and symbols. Certain German states will prosecute German citizens for posting YPJ-YPG symbols on social media, or bringing their flags to protests.[40]

How does Germany justify this? Do they accept Anakara's line that the YPG are terrorists? (Or it because of shared PKK-YPG symbols (e.g. the red star) and/or the high similarity of the YPG/YPJ flags matching that of PKK's own armed wings, namely the HPG (People's Defence Forces) and YJA-STAR (Free Women's Units)? See flag comparison below.)

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    It's just another example of Germany's weird anti freedom laws. Makes one very appreciative of the First Amendment. Oct 22, 2019 at 10:38
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    It’s complicated (note also the reference to just “certain states” in your quote). Actually banned are only the PKK and their symbols.
    – chirlu
    Oct 22, 2019 at 15:45
  • Can we include the full name of the organizations being discussed?
    – hszmv
    Oct 23, 2019 at 11:09
  • @hszmv: I've done so using Wikipedia's favored translation. Oct 23, 2019 at 11:19
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    In the mean time the Academy Awards gives an Oscar to the media wing of Al-Nusra Front. A.K.A The White Helmets. 9/11, never forgive, never forget. #westernlogic Oct 23, 2019 at 19:57

1 Answer 1


Germany considers the PKK to be a terrorist organization. This goes back to some violence in 1993. At the same time, some Kurdish activists are organized in the "Democratic Kurdish Civic Center Germany," which is officially not part of the PKK. Their rallies must not show PKK insignia, since the PKK is banned as terrorists, or their activists may be prosecuted.

Western democracies are not united in the view of the PKK as terrorists, but it is prevalent. Currently Germany agrees with Turkey in this regard. Parties in parliament who disagree with the assessment are part of the opposition.

The YPG may (or may not) be considered the Syrian branch of the PKK. Their symbols show a high similarity with PKK symbols, which have been banned in Germany for the reasons mentioned above. At the same time, NATO has been arming the YPG in Syria.

Not the most consistent approach ...

  • Isn't the PKK explicitly just forbidden ("Betätigungsverbot") on grounds of 'criminal organisation' since 1993 and via EU-terror list since 2004 (which was officially deemed incorrect. In any case the YPG is not "the" Syrian branch. And welt.de/politik/ausland/article152602725/… reads funny now when another minister says they "have been always terrorists"? In short not "consistent" but is their any reliable official line and not always situational arbitrariness? Oct 23, 2019 at 11:45
  • @LаngLаngС, I can't think of any country which draws a truly rational diving line between freedom fighters and terrorists. That is always a political (or emotional) issue.
    – o.m.
    Oct 23, 2019 at 16:07
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    Of course they're terrorists. They're only freedom fighters if they serve U.S geopolitical strategy. Oct 23, 2019 at 19:59
  • @dan-klasson, but the YPG does just that.
    – o.m.
    Oct 24, 2019 at 4:48

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