Funeral procession for assassinated women's rights activist held in Turkey

Funeral procession for assassinated women's rights activist held in Turkey
Update: 13 October 2022 21:01
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As Turkish troops encircled the procession and tried to stop women carrying Nagihan Akarsel's photos, two journalists have been detained.

The funeral procession for a women's rights activist who had been assassinated in Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI) was held in her hometown in Turkey's central province of Konya.

Nagihan Akarsel, a Kurdish journalist and a member of the Jineoloji research academy - founded for empowering women in the KRI - was killed by unidentified assailants on 4 October in the city of Sulaimani.

While the Turkish administration has been accused of being involved in the murder, the Turkish Ambassador to Iraq responded to a reporter's question about the accusations on Sunday saying, "All PKK elements are targets."

The funeral procession was held on Thursday in the village of Xelikan (officially Golyazi). As Turkish troops encircled the crowd and tried to prevent photos of Akarsel to be carried in the procession, a group of women marched with the photos, defying the ban.

Dilan Babat, a reporter for the all women news agency JinNews, and Firat Can Arslan, a reporter for the Mezopotamya News Agency, were detained by the police as they were reporting.

A statement was read out later in protest over the authorities' attempts to obstruct the funeral procession and to prevent people from taking part.

Noting that a whole district has been encircled by the troops, the local branch official of the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) Pakize Sinemillioglu said:

"The ruling bloc of the Justice and Development Party and the Nationalist Movement Party did not only kill a person, but they have also tried to prevent us from holding a funeral procession (...) They have respect neither for the dead nor for our values."

While a suspect of Akarsel's murder was earlier arrested in KRI, his identification has not yet been disclosed.

After Voice of America first published then removed the photo of the suspect, journalist Fehim Tastekin posted a video on Youtube showing the suspect in custody.