Jean-Luc Mélenchon, French politician and the leader of the left-wing alliance in the 2022 elections, criticised the French authorities for failing to provide enough protection to Kurds, during a joint press conference with the Kurdish Democratic Council of France on Friday.
The press conference took place in the aftermath of an armed attack on a Kurdish Cultural Centre in Paris yesterday that left three people dead and several others injured, sparking protests in the French capital.
“How is it possible that a very important meeting, alerted to the authorities, did not receive any protection? Fifteen days ago, the authorities have been alerted about a planned meeting today,” Mélenchon said, referring to a meeting that was planned at the Ahmet Kaya Cultural Centre on Friday morning but was later postponed for two hours.
The meeting was organised for demonstrations to be held on 9 January, at the tenth anniversary of a 2013 assassination attack on a Kurdish information centre in the French capital, which left three women, including a founder of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), dead.
One of the victims of the Friday attack is also a female Kurdish activist, Emine Kara, known to be one of the leaders of the Kurdish women’s movement.
“The three deaths are three Kurdish activists. One of them responsible of the Kurdish women in France,” Mélenchon said, implying the parallels between the two events. The politician asked French authorities whether some spies and intelligence agencies acted freely on French soil to settle accounts and kill people.
The 2013 assassinations remain unsolved despite French authorities concluding in their investigations that the shooter, Ömer Güney, had frequent contacts with some Turkish spies. Güney died in prison in 2016, before his trial started.
Mélenchon urged the French authorities to use all their energy to resolve the latest incident so that the new murders will not be left unsolved like the 2013 assassinations. “They have to do it! Not as the last time, for 10 years without any result,” he said.
The French politician also gave similar messages on Twitter.
Despite Kurdish institutions’ and activists’ accusations against Turkey after Friday’s attack, the French authorities consider the attack to be racially motivated after arresting a 69-year-old retired train conductor. The suspect previously carried out racist attacks according to French prosecutors and the police and was only released on bail on 12 December. According to footage shared, after the attack he later allegedly entered a barber saloon, where he was disarmed by customers and staff, while the police arrived 40 minutes after the attack, according to eye-witnesses, and arrested the shooter.
Agit Polat, spokesperson of the Kurdish Democratic Council of France, expressed their suspicions during the press conference with Mélenchon.
“They try to make us believe that’s about a simple far right activist that just left prison on 12 December and commits this horrible attack in our offices of the Kurdish Democratic Council of France, that is gathering dozens of Kurdish associations,” he said. “We appeal once again to the French authorities: stop the collaboration with the Turkish intelligence services,” Polat added.
Polat stated that despite their applications, the French authorities failed in protecting Kurdish groups. “Till now, the French intelligence services have not assured our security. Only 20 days ago, in a contact with the French intelligence services, I, myself, personally, communicated my fears about our security. Only 20 days ago, I stressed the necessity to increase the security in and around our association,” he said.