Kurds march in Paris 10 years after unsolved triple killing

Separate Paris shooting last month has added to Kurdish anger

Kurdish marchers gather on the Place de la Republique in Paris. AFP
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Thousands of Kurds marched in Paris on Saturday to mark 10 years since the unsolved killing of three Kurdish women in the French capital.

The march came a fortnight after three Kurds were killed in Paris in what prosecutors called a racist attack.

Under police escort, Kurdish campaigners from around Europe travelled by bus to Saturday’s march.

They carried banners with pictures of Sakine Cansiz, Fidan Dogan and Leyla Saylemez, the three women fatally shot in the head in January 2013.

Ms Cansiz was a founding member of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), a group regarded as terrorists by Turkey and the European Union.

A Turkish suspect, Omer Guney, was ordered to face trial for the killings but died of a brain tumour before it began.

Many Kurdish activists believe Mr Guney, an airport maintenance worker, was doing the bidding of Turkish intelligence. Turkey denied involvement.

Activists also want France to declassify documents they say are needed to solve the case.

Demonstrators “came from all across France and Europe to call for an end to impunity”, said the Kurdish Democratic Council in France.

The crowd marched from the Gare du Nord railway station to the Place de la Republique, a popular place for demonstrations.

A banner calling for "truth and justice" shows the faces of 2013 shooting victims Fidan Dogan, Sakine Cansiz and Leyla Saylemez. AFP

Saturday also marked eight years since the attack on satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, in which 12 people were killed.

Laurent Sourisseau, a cartoonist who survived the attack, laid a wreath in Paris at a ceremony attended by senior French ministers and the city’s mayor Anne Hidalgo.

Security was tight in Paris following skirmishes at previous Kurdish gatherings, notably in response to last month’s shooting.

The suspect in the December 23 attack told authorities he had a pathological hatred of non-European people, according to prosecutors.

He was handed preliminary charges of racially motivated murder.

Turkey complained to France over what it called propaganda by Kurdish activists, who again suspect political involvement in the shooting.

One slogan displayed on protest banners in Paris read: “The Turkish government has massacred three more Kurds.”

Turkey's hard line on the PKK has taken on a wider significance as it delays Sweden and Finland's Nato applications until Ankara is satisfied they are not harbouring Kurdish militants.

Updated: January 07, 2023, 2:35 PM