After Friday’s shooting at the Kurdish cultural centre in Paris, the Kurdish backlash against France is growing, and there are also increasing calls for a comprehensive investigation of the attack’s links to the 2013 assassinations of three female Kurdish activists at the same location.
“We fought against ISIS in Syria so you could sleep comfortably in your home in Paris, but you couldn’t protect us twice in 10 years,” a demonstrator said in a video that went viral on social media.
Thousands of people demonstrated over the weekend in Paris, Bordeaux, Strasbourg and Marseille, to pay tribute to the six victims, three of whom were shot dead and three injured on Friday outside the Kurdish cultural centre. The demonstrations were an expression of the anger and pain of the Kurdish community at two fatal attacks against Kurds in France in 10 years.
Kurds believe that the attack that took place in Paris on Friday is connected to the assassinations of three Kurdish women 10 years ago, and that Turkey is behind both attacks.
France’s statements after the attack indicate that Friday’s shooting was a hate attack. The gunman, who opened fire on the cultural centre and on Kurdish shops on the same street, was caught by nearby Kurdish citizens and handed over to the police. The shooter was previously known to French security forces for his attacks on refugees.
However, the Kurds, who oppose the characterisation of the investigation into the incident as a mere hate attack, are demanding a full investigation from French authorities and asking for clarification of the connection of the incident to the 2013 murders.
According to an article published in L’Humanité on Sunday addressing suspicions about the incident:
“By dismissing from the first hours the possibility of a terrorist act targeting Kurdish representatives, it seems obvious that the French authorities are trying to avoid getting bogged down in a political trail. While three Kurdish activists were shot dead in the heart of Paris 10 years ago, France’s refusal to lift the confidentiality order on the case files still prevents knowing who is behind the attack.”
In January 2013, a Turkish gunman attacked a Kurdish information centre in Paris and killed three Kurdish female activists, including Sakine Cansız, one of the founders of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). That incident has remained unsolved and has caused great distress among the Kurds, fuelling mistrust in European institutions.
Despite revelations of links between the sole suspect Ömer Güney and certain individuals allegedly connected to Turkish intelligence; revelations which included a number of audio recordings as well as the investigation of the French authorities that also uncovered the existence of such contacts, the case was closed after Güney died in prison in 2016, a month before the start of his trial.
The case was reopened three years later in 2019, but no progress has been made and there is still a partial confidentiality order on the case files.