COLOGNE — On the 26th of August in the German city of Cologne the Kurdish Community in Germany (Kurdische Gemeinde Deutschland) expects around 30,000 people to gather together in support of the independence referendum in the Kurdistan Region, set to be held on 25th of September this year.
In an interview for BasNews, the Vice Chairman of the Kurdish Community in Germany, Mehmet Tanriverdi, explained that the festival is expected to have great success and positive impact on the upcoming referendum.
[This interview was translated from German, and edited for clarity and length.]
BasNews: What is the main purpose of the festival?
MT: The festival on the 26th of August at the "Heumarkt" in Cologne is in support of the upcoming independence referendum in the Kurdistan Region. Thousand of Kurds from not only Germany, but other European countries gather together in Cologne to show their strong support for the referendum and for an independent Kurdistan.
BasNews: What does the program of the festival include?
MT: The program includes Kurdish music and a folklore show, as well as speeches from Kurdish academics and suppprters of the referendum. The event is moderated in German, English and Kurdish. The event is accompanied by performances from Sivan Perwer, Rojin, Brader Musiki and other Kurdish artists and bands. A welcoming speech from the President of the Kurdistan Region, Masoud Barzani will be read as well, expressing gratitude for the strong support from Kurds all over Europe. Several prominent Kurdish authors and politicians will also deliver a speech, including writer Ismail Besikci.
BasNews: Who is responsible for organizing the festival?
MT: The Kurdish Community of Germany (Kurdische Gemeinde Deutschland) is the main organizer, but the practical tasks and preparations were in the hands of Kurds from all over Germany, who wanted to help make this happen. All Kurdish organisations, communities, and associations in Germany have given their support and will participate at the festival.
BasNews: What is the main character of the festival and do you think it will have a strong positive impact?
MT: The festival is focused on supporting the independence referendum in Kurdistan, and has a fair character, it's a peaceful festival! It gathers Kurds from all around Europe, despite differences. Many of the Kurdish participants are German citizens, but we also expect non-Kurdish attendees, who want to show their support to come to the event. Folk festivals in Germany have a long tradition and a social significant value. It is expected to have a positive impact on the comman view regarding the referendum.
BasNews: Howe many people are expected to come to the event, and from which parts of Kurdistan?
MT: We expect between 25.000 and 30.000 people. The members of our associations will be there, but also other Kurdish associations, who are traveling from other parts of Germany and other European countries just for the festival. We expect Kurds from all parts of Kurdistan, coming from Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium and other European countries to attend the event.