In the early hours of Thursday morning, in the heart of Paris, an appalling crime was perpetrated against the entire Kurdish nation: the cold-blooded murder of three of our most dedicated Kurdish women activists.
The victims represent three generations of Kurdish women; the most senior victim was Sakine Canziz, a founder member of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, PKK, who has since been playing a crucial role in the Kurdish women’s movement; Fidan Dogan (Rojbin) who was a member of the Kurdistan National Congress and the youngest casualty, Leyla Soylemez, an activist working on diplomatic relations.
All had dedicated their lives to the achievement of a lasting peace settlement between Turkey and the Kurdish movement and at the time of their brutal deaths were just about to see all their efforts come to fruition with the reopening of peace talks between representatives of the Turkish government and the leader of the Kurdish people, Abdullah Ocalan.
Tragically our three friends and comrades will now never be able to see the final outcome of the peace that they had worked so long and hard for; it must be left to others to carry out the task of securing the peace and justice on behalf of our people.
Our three friends were singled out for execution because of their ethnicity in what must surely count as one of the most shocking hate crimes to have occurred in a sophisticated Parisian suburb in recent years.
News of the killings was met with universal shock and horror. The French President Francois Hollande described the killings as “horrible”, while the country’s Interior Minister Manuel Valls expressed the view that the manner of their deaths was “surely an execution”.
The Kurdish people, who were filled with hope and expectations after the start of peace talks, have reacted to these deaths with outrage and anger but tempered by remarkable self-discipline and restraint.
It is clear that the executions were carried out by a professional assassin and the incident can only be interpreted as an act of provocation designed to derail the emerging peace process; since it surely can be no coincidence that the murders came within hours of the announcement of peace talks between Turkey and Mr Ocalan.
All the circumstances therefore point to the fact that Sakine, Fidan and Leyla were killed by someone who does not want to see Turkey and the Kurds ever reaching a peace accord.
To take away the lives of innocent people in cold blood is the most heinous crime imaginable, but to commit such a barbaric act as a cynical attempt to prevent peace must be counted as the worst of all villainies.
Those responsible for the brutal murders are the enemies of peace and also the sworn enemies of all peace-loving humanity.
There can be no rest until the culprits of the execution of our sisters and comrades are tracked down and brought to justice.
The French authorities and all their European counterparts have a duty also to support the peace process to which they can most constructively contribute by removing the obstacles that they have placed in its way, primarily by ending the criminalisation of the Kurdish community through the delisting of the PKK as a terrorist organisation and specifically in the case of France, the authorities should release the leading Kurdish peace activist and KNK representative Adem Uzun, who was arrested in Paris in October 2012.
After our initial shock and sadness, the Kurdish people’s demand for justice must inevitably grow stronger.
The Kurdish movement can best honour the memory of our martyred sisters by redoubling our efforts for peace and we remain dedicated to the successful implementation of the roadmap to bring the much longed for justice for all our people after generations of struggle.
Please note: A rally will take place tomorrow, Friday 11 January at 1pm, outside the Turkish Embassy in London. A demonstration will also be held on Sunday 13 January at 12pm*, at the Halkevi Community Centre in Dalston, London. For more details contact [email protected] <[email protected]>
There will also be a mass demonstration in Paris to protest these killings. It will take place on Saturday 12 January at 12pm, Place de la Bastille, Paris.
For information contact
Kurdistan National Congress UK
Contact Akif Wan, KNK UK representative
rizgar wan [email protected] <mailto:[email protected]> mobile 07535982760
Peace in Kurdistan
Campaign for a political solution of the Kurdish Question
Contacts: Estella Schmid and Melanie Sirinathsingh
Email: [email protected] <mailto:[email protected]> Tel 020 7586 5892
Patrons: Lord Avebury, Lord Rea, Lord Dholakia, Baroness Sarah Ludford MEP, Jill Evans MEP, Jean Lambert MEP, Jeremy Corbyn MP, Hywel Williams MP, Elfyn Llwyd MP, Conor Murphy MP, John Austin, Bruce Kent, Gareth Peirce, Julie Christie, Noam Chomsky, John Berger, Edward Albee, Margaret Owen OBE, Prof Mary Davis, Mark Thomas