Aus. Kuridish group condemns assassination of activists in Paris

Sakine Cansiz, Fidan Dogan and Leyla Soylemez.

The statement was released the Kurdish Association of Australia on January 11 condemning the assassination of three Kurdish activists in Paris. The Kurdish people have long struggled for self-determination in Turkey, and other states that claim parts of historic Kurdistan. Turkey has responded to the Kurdish struggle with brutal repression and moves to wipe out the Kurdish identity.

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On the 9th of January, 2013 three Kurdish women activists ― including a co-founder of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) ― were shot dead in the Kurdish Institute of Paris.

Sakine Cansiz was a founding member of the PKK, and first senior woman member of the organisation, while jailed, instigated Kurdish protest movement inside the Diyarbakir prison in Turkey during the 1980s. After being released, she continued her work as a woman activist.

Alongside with Cansiz, the second woman activist Fidan Dogan, 32, who worked in the Kurdish Institute and was also the Paris representative of the Brussels-based Kurdistan National Congress was killed. The third woman activist killed was Leyla Soylemez who was a young activist.

The three women were last seen inside the Kurdish Institute on Wednesday afternoon. A member of the Kurdish community tried to visit the centre but found that the doors were locked. When they pushed their way in to the building they had found the bodies of the three.

Immediately after this incident, thousands of members of the Kurdish community gathered in front of the Kurdish Institute. French interior minister Manuel Valls, who also visited the centre, described the killings as an execution. "This is a very grave matter and this explains my presence. This is unacceptable," he told reporters at the scene.

In a statement, Peace and Democracy Party co-chairs Gultan Kışanak and Selahattin Demirtaş expressed their condolences and condemned the murders, saying: “The French government must find the culprits immediately and without leaving any sense of doubt behind the murders. Nobody can cover up a massacre in one of the busiest streets of Paris.”

The Kurdish community living in Australia strongly condemns this assassination, which is believed to be politically motivated. The killing of three Kurdish activists in Paris once again confirmed that the Kurdish community is a target for criminals even in the centre of the Europe.

We believe that the execution of the three Kurdish female activists is related to the widespread attacks on Kurdish institutions and activists around the world including Australia, where the Kurdish community feel they are under constant threat.

We call upon the French government to initiate a thorough investigation and bring these criminals to justice.

We believe that all these killings and assaults on the Kurdish communities around the world are a consequence of the unsettled Kurdish problem in Turkey.

We consider that Turkey plays a key role in the act of oppressing Kurdish communities and activists around the world.

Therefore, the Kurdish community in Australia asks the political world to put more pressure on the Turkish state to recognise the rights of the Kurdish nation and continue to negotiate with Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan and Kurdish representatives.

We want a peaceful solution for the Kurdish nation, as well as the stabilisation of human rights laws, which apply for the Kurds and all other ethnic minorities living in Turkey.