Hundreds of protesters gathered outside the Turkish Embassy in central London yesterday, Friday, to protest at the killing of three Kurdish activists in Paris. Workers, students and campaigners united to demand justice. Among the banners were flags from the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
PKK co-founder Sakine Cansiz, Kurdistan National Congress Paris representative Fidan Dogan and Leyla Soylemez were murdered in an armed attack on the Kurdistan Information Bureau in Paris.
Demonstrators spontaneously decided to march the half mile from the Turkish embassy to the French embassy demanding that France explain the killings. They then blocked Knightsbridge outside the French embassy with a brief sit down protest.
It is unclear who carried out the assassinations on Thursday, though many of the protesters blamed on the Turkish state, especially those nationalist elements that do not support the peace process.
Melanie, a representative of the Peace in Kurdistan campaign, told Socialist Worker, “We are very saddened by this development which has happened because some people want to disrupt the movement for peace.”
She described that the wider context, saying “Despite the Turkish government claiming that it would like to negotiate for peace their actions suggest differently for many reasons—PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan is still in isolation in prison, government military operations continue in the Kurdish south east and thousands of Kurdish activists have been arrested.
“Kurdish people want full democratic rights and not to be treated like second class citizens and just to be clear, the PKK does not advocate a separate Kurdish state. Kurdish people want democratic autonomy within Turkey.”
Day-Mer Turkish and Kurdish Community Centre produced a statement which said, “We demand an immediate and serious inquiry of the attack and expect the French government to give a public statement on the matter. Regardless of which group carried out the attack or where it was planned, they cannot do away with the Kurdish peoples’ desire for peace, democracy and freedom.”
The International Socialist Tendency has issued a statement on the killings: STATEMENT BY DSIP (TURKEY): BULLETS AIMED AT PEACE
A demonstration will also be held on Sunday 13 January at 12 noon, starting at the Halkevi Community Centre, 31-33 Dalston Lane, London, E8 3DF. For more details contact firstname.lastname@example.org