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Germany

German Court Lifts Ban on Kurdish Paper

Germany on Thursday lifted a ban on a Turkish-language newspaper with links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). The Federal Administrative Court overruled a decision by outgoing Interior Minister Otto Schily, who described the Ozgur Politika paper as "the mouthpiece" of the PKK, a group fighting for a Kurdish homeland considered to be a terrorist organization by the Turkish government. Schily had banned the paper on August 30 and police raided its offices in Neu-Isenburg near Frankfurt on September 5. But the Leipzig-based court ruled the ban was unlawful and said there was no reason to prevent the newspaper, which has a print run of 10,000 copies, from being published. The PKK has waged a bloody separatist campaign in Turkey's mainly Kurdish southeast since 1984 in a conflict that has claimed some 37,000 lives. Unrest in the region escalated this year after the PKK called off a five-year unilateral ceasefire in June 2004. Turkey has long accused European and neighboring countries of tolerating PKK activities on their soil.

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