Kurdish communities throughout Europe organised demonstrations in various cities on the anniversary of the Paris massacre of 2013 where three Kurdish women were killed in a shooting at the city’s Kurdistan Information Bureau.
In Zurich, Kurds gathered outside the French embassy to demand clarity in the deaths of Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) founding member Sakine Cansız, Kurdish National Congress representative Fidan Doğan and Kurdish youth activist Leyla Şaylemez, as well as those of Evîn Goyî, Abdurrahman Kızıl and Mîr Perwer, who were killed in what Kurds call the second Paris massacre in December 2022.
France has covered up the massacres “for various reasons”, Kurdish Women’s Union Switzerland (YJK-S) member Nurşen Nergis said at the gathering. “These policies of impunity have led to the second massacre. They targeted Kurdish women and sought to break the will of the Kurdish people,” she added.
Another gathering took place outside the French embassy in Bern, Switzerland, where Bern Democratic Kurdish Society Centre (CDK-Be) Co-chair Hınar Dilmeç said the community’s anger against the massacre was “still alive”.
“We the Kurdish people expect France to reveal the true perpetrators,” Dilmeç said, pointing to the culpability of Turkey’s National Intelligence Agency (MİT).
Protesters were blocked by the Swiss police as they attempted to leave a wreath outside the embassy.
More activists gathered outside the French embassies and consulates in Frankfurt, Hannover, Strasbourg and Athens. During the vigils they also presented their reports on the massacre to the French authorities, as well as passing out flyers to the public.
In Turkey, a separate memorial gathering was held in Istanbul, where Kurds came together in the Mezopotamya Cultural Centre.
Sakine Cansız was among the people tortured for standing against Turkey’s torture policies, activist Mizgin Doruk said at the Istanbul gathering. “She was the greatest female resistance member who gave her light to the dark dungeons of the military coup of 12 September 1980,” Doruk said. “She showed everybody how a woman would emancipate herself in life, and was a leader and a successful representative of the Kurdish woman.”
In a memorial in the Turkish capital Ankara, Peoples’ Equality and Democracy (DEM) Party Ankara Women’s Assembly Spokeswoman Nebahat Çalpan said the Paris massacre was “a massacre targeting peace”.
“Despite facing a barbaric approach, Kurdish women do not compromise on their insistence on peace and the paradigm of women’s liberation,” she said.
In the Kurdish-majority province of Diyarbakır (Amed) in southeast Turkey, local DEM Party spokeswoman Halide Türkoğlu said the slogan “Jin, Jîyan, Azadî”, which had originated in the Kurdish movement, had spread throughout the world. “Everybody can see how women have weaved life as represented by Sakine, and those who murdered female politicians will be held to account,” she said.
A memorial held in the cemetery where Doğan is buried in Kahramanmaraş (Mereş) was met with intervention when riot police surrounded mourners and attempted to prevent the service. In Tunceli (Dersim), police only allowed 10 people to visit Cansız’s grave, preventing the hundreds gathered to pay their respects from doing so.
Women also took to the streets in Aleppo and Damascus, as well as several towns in Kurdish-held North and East Syria.
Cansız “rose up against fascism and fought under extreme conditions until her passing”, Kongra Star member Şaha Xelîl said in a demonstration in Qamushli (Qamişlo).
The massacre targeted women who “stood up against fundamentalism”, Kongra Star member Berjin Mihemed said in the demonstration in Aleppo.