07ANKARA2917 2007-12-07 “We also should press the Europeans to take action against the two most notorious PKK/KGK financiers in Europe, Riza Altun and Sakine Cansiz. Riza Altun is known to be a top PKK financier. He fled judicial arrest in France in July and Austrian authorities allowed him to fly to Iraq on July 13, but he recently has been seen traveling again in Europe. Sakine Cansiz is a PKK/KGK financier and weapons and tactical strategist. She was arrested in Germany but released by a Hamburg court on April 27 after 40 days of detention and remains in Europe. Their re-arrest and prosecution would limit PKK/KGK activities and signal that Europe is not a free zone for PKK/KGK.”
PARIS, France – Thousands of Kurdish protesters in Paris vented their anger Saturday at the killing of three female activists of the militant Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), calling for revenge and justice, as politicians vowed that controversial peace talks with Turkey would not be derailed.
PKK co-founder Sakine Cansiz, Kurdish lobbyist Fidan Dogan and the young Kurdish activist Leyla Soylemez were shot dead at the Kurdistan Information Centre in Paris on Thursday.
At least some of the protesters’ anger was directed at France, for not doing more to protect Kurdish activists.
“If the French do not investigate this we will see them as responsible too,” said an angry Kurd who traveled by bus from Germany to attend the demonstrations.
The PKK said that, “The French Government can exculpate itself only if it reveals the perpetrators of the murder. Otherwise the Kurds will hold the French government responsible for this massacre.”
Reports that the building where the murders took place was monitored closely by French authorities have raised question marks about how the killers had gotten away.
Cansiz, a co-founder of the PKK, was seen as a top target by the US government, which wanted European Union countries to do more against the militants. According to a WikiLeaks cable from the US embassy in Ankara from 2007, Washington wanted Germany to arrest her and Riza Altun, calling them “the two most notorious… financiers in Europe” for militant Kurdish groups.
In France and other EU countries Kurdish activists and politicians were indeed arrested and prosecuted for involvement in PKK activities.
The murders came amid reports of controversial peace talks in Turkey between Ankara and the PKK’s jailed leader, Abdullah Ocalan, aimed at disarming rebels who have waged a decades-old war for greater rights for Turkey’s large Kurdish minority.
“The perpetrators want to block the peace process,” said Zubeyir Aydar, a PKK official who was involved in the failed Oslo peace talks between Turkey and the PKK in 2009.
“We must prevent them from achieving this aim. We, as an organization, must prevent the end of the peace process. That’s how our leader Apo (Ocalan) thinks, and we will not take any other stance,” he told Rudaw.
Faik Yagizay, Europe representative for the Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) in Turkey, said that peace negotiations must defy the killers.
“The assassinations will contribute to the peace process because we know it was against it, so we have to insist on it,” said Yagizay, whose party has been mediating between Ocalan and the Turkish government.
“They targeted Ocalan, they targeted the peace process, and they targeted the freedom of the Kurdish people, so we have to continue,” he vowed.
Yalcin Akdogan, political advisor of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, told Turkey’s Hurriyet daily that the process would not be derailed.
“I see that the will to continue the process and to bring it to a solution has increased,” he was quoted as saying.
The Kurdish Firat News Agency reported that Ocalan told his brother, Mehmet, that shedding light on the murders would help the talks. “It is important to illuminate the killings, as this will also help to progress the ongoing process of talks,” he reportedly said.