Germany denies visas for Kurdish band previously banned in Turkey

German officials have denied visas for members of a Kurdish musical group scheduled to perform at a concert in Mulheim in North Rhine-Westphalia later this month, Kurdistan24 news site reported on Sunday.

Organisers of the upcoming concert, set to include Kurdish artist Mem Ararat and his band have scrambled to find a replacement for the group, after some members were denied visas to enter the country ahead of the Dec. 12 concert, it said.

“The guitarist Deniz Kaya and the percussionist Azad Yılmaz from the ensemble of the Kurdish folk musician Mem Ararat are denied entry,” Kurdistan24 quoted Theater an der Ruhr as saying in a press statement.

The visa office of the German Embassy in Ankara cited the “lack of evidence of the roots” of the two musicians in Turkey in its formal justification of the refusal, Kurdistan24 said.

The decision follows a move by the governor of the Kurdish-majority southeastern Turkish city of Diyarbakir last year to ban Mardin native Ararat and his band from performing at a local concert. 

“I don’t understand why Germany would reject the visa requests. We have been dismayed, not because we couldn’t go to Germany, but because our listeners were waiting for us there,’’ Ararat said.