Report: France - Turkey

Protest demands answers over Paris Kurdish women's murder

A protester on the European Demonstration March For Truth And Justice in Paris on Saturday
A protester on the European Demonstration March For Truth And Justice in Paris on Saturday Reuters/Gonzalo Fuentes

Thousands of Kurds marched in Paris on Saturday to demand that France establish who ordered the murder of three women activists in the French capital a year ago. Kurdish groups wanty French President François Hollande to raise the case when he visit Turkey this month.


A suspect, Omer Guney, was detained shortly after the shooting that killed Sakine Cansiz, Fidan Dogan and Leyla Saylemez in a Kurdish information centre in north Paris.

But Kurdish groups say political interests are preventing a thorough investigation from taking place.

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The women were supporters of the separatist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has been in armed conflict with the Turkish state for several decades.

Kurds from around Europe came to Paris on Saturday to say that too little is known about why the women were gunned down last year.

They don't agree with the Turkish government, which says the most likely reason for the murders was an internal conflict within the PKK over whether to hold talks with the Turkish government.

Eda Avesta from London say investigators haven't looked into Guney's alleged links with Turkish nationalists.

"They've given information that he has connections to Turkey, but it doesn't seem they've followed that through: who this could be, who he made contact with, who he's connected to," she told RFI. "We feel it's very minimal, and very slow."

Many suspect there are political reasons for the slow pace of the investigation.

“This is something between the French intelligence and the Turkish intelligence," said Aysegul Erdogan, who is also from London. "If the French government did want to find out more about this guy, I think looking into the connections in his past can shed some light on the case.”

If the motives for the assassination remain unclear, some have more faith the courts will give answers. 

"We don't believe the man arrested acted alone," said Léon Edart is a member of France's Federation of Kurdish Associations. "For now the courts are keeping everything to themselves but we hope there will be more answers soon, and that we'll know who the real assassins are."

Many Kurds believe France is too concerned about its relations with Turkey.

They hope the march pressures the French authorities to deepen the investigation and deliver justice.

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