Thousands march in Paris in memory of 2013 murder of Kurds

Thousands march in Paris in memory of 2013 murder of Kurds
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The march was organized in protest of the unresolved killing of three activists in the French capital 10 years ago. Kurdish groups also mourned the three people killed in Paris last month

Thousands of demonstrators marched in central Paris on Saturday to pay tribute to three Kurdish activists murdered a decade ago.

The march, an annual event since the killings on January 9th, 2013, came two weeks after an attack on a Kurdish Cultural Centre in Paris killed three Kurdish people, just a few minutes’ walk from the site of the earlier shootings.

The organizers said more than 25,000 people from all over Europe joined the rally.

They carried banners accusing the Turkish government of being involved in the murder along with the pictures of the victims as they walked from the Gare du Nord station in the north of the capital towards Place de la Republique, a popular spot for demonstrations.

In 2013, Sakine Cansiz, 54, a founder of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has waged a long insurgency against Turkey, was killed execution-style with shots to the head along with two other women named Fidan Dogan, 28 and Leyla Soylemez, 24 at the Kurdish Information Centre in Paris’ 10th district.

The PKK, which fights for increased autonomy for the Kurdish population, is considered a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the United States and the European Union.

Kurdish activists in France, home to the second-biggest Kurdish community in the European Union after Germany, have always alleged that the Turkish secret service ordered the killing

The alleged murderer, Omer Guney, a Turkish national who had infiltrated Kurdish leadership circles in Paris, was indicted for the crime. He died of a brain tumor in custody in 2016, before his trial and before the French investigation could shed light on his relationship with Turkish Intelligence Agency (MIT)

In 2014, MIT officially denied playing any role in the murders.

In May 2019, a French anti-terrorist judge was tasked with re-opening the investigation.

The victims’ families say the probe has been hampered by lack of access to secret documents that they say France was refusing to declassify.

“France has a debt of justice towards us,” said Metin Cansiz, the brother of Sakine Cansiz, told AFP ahead of Saturday’s march.

His family, he said, had lost a loved one “sacrificed” on the altar of Franco-Turkish relations.

In last month’s attack, Abdurrahman Kizil, singer Mir Perwer and Emine Kara, leader of the Movement of Kurdish Women in France linked to the PKK, were shot dead by a man named William Malet.

French prosecutors say the suspect, a retired rail worker, had admitted to wanting to “murder migrants”, but several Kurds who spoke to AFP said they suspected a “terror” act orchestrated by the Turkish state.

The murders sparked a major demonstration by Kurds in Paris on December 24th.