PKK woman Sakine Cansiz shot 'to wreck peace talks' says family
Kurds march to demand France find and punish killers or be ‘considered as an accomplice’
Thousands of Kurds, many coming from Germany, vowed revenge as they rallied yesterday in Paris over the killing of three top Kurdish activists from a separatist group considered a terrorist organisation by Turkey.
The march, which began at city's Gare de l'Est railway station, was emotionally charged with demonstrators saying France would be an accomplice in the brazen murders if it did not identify and punish the killers.
"This crime is a crime against the Kurdish people and against peace," said a woman demonstrator, calling for an end to the listing of the PKK as a terrorist organisation.
"The French state bears a responsibility. If the perpetrators of these crimes are not found, France will be indisputably considered as an accomplice," said a leaflet published and distributed by France's main Kurdish association Feyka.
The demonstrators, marching under grey skies and an intermittent drizzle, held banners saying "Intikam! PKK," using the Turkish word for revenge, and "The martyrs of the Revolution Are Eternal."
The dead included Sakine Cansiz, a founding member of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which took up arms in 1984 for Kurdish self-rule in southeastern Turkey and is branded a terrorist organisation by Ankara and much of the international community.
Fidan Dogan and Leyla Soylemez were also found dead on Thursday at the Kurdistan Information Centre in the grimy 10th district of Paris, after last being seen alive at the centre at midday on Wednesday.
The killings came days after Turkish media reported Turkey and the PKK leadership had agreed a road map to end the three-decade old Kurdish insurgency. The deal was reportedly reached during a round of talks between Ankara and jailed PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan which the government said were aimed at disarming the rebels.
"This attack comes at a time when talks are on to find a solution to the Kurdish problem in Turkey," said Feyka.
French President Francois Hollande had said the murders were "terrible", adding he knew one of the Kurdish women and that she "regularly met us", a comment seized upon by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. He sought an explanation yesterday from paris on the comments by Hollande.
"How can he regularly meet with these people who are members of a group listed as a terrorist organisation by the European Union and who are wanted under a red bulletin [issued by Interpol]?" Erdogan asked, referring to Hollande.
Erdogan said Hollande "must explain immediately to the French, Turkish and world public why ... he is in communication with these terrorists".
The Turkish leader repeatedly accused some European states, including France and Germany, of obstructing Ankara's fight against the PKK.
"Sakine Cansiz was arrested in Germany in 2007. She was later released despite Turkey's demand for her extradition," Erdogan said.