Cumali Şaylemez, the father of Leyla Şaylemez – who was one of three Kurdish politicians who were assassinated in Paris in 2013 – spoke to Hawar News Agency about the assassinations, the related case files and the statements of İsmail Hakkı Pekin, a former senior-intelligence officer. Pekin’s statements have resulted in heated debates about the role of Turkey’s intelligence agency in the assassinations.
Three female Kurdish politicians and activists, Sakine Cansız, Fidan Doğan and Leyla Şaylemez were assassinated in Paris in 2013. Whilst the case file is still open, the families of the murdered Kurdish politicans have been seeking justice for eight years.
“The previous case in the French courts was closed due to the death of the murderer Ömer Güney. Afterwards, a new lawsuit was filed as a result of our attempts. We were going to negotiate with the new judge about the new stage of the case but we could not do this due to the pandemic. As the families of the three murdered women, we will follow our case to the end and we will not let go”, said Şaylemez.
‘All roads lead to Turkey, Ankara and the National Intelligence Agency (MIT) building’
Şaylemez stated that the first judge in the case prepared the case file based on the investigation held in five to six countries. “The investigation showed that all roads lead to Turkey, Ankara and the National Intelligence Agency (MIT) building. The judge shared this information only with the families, not publicly”, he said.
“They did not make any statements over this matter. The reason stems from policies of interest between the countries. They turned a blind eye to massacres against the Kurdish people for their own interests”.
‘We know the killers’
Şaylemez stated that Kurdish people knew who the killers were and who gave the order for the Paris massacre, “but we could not make the authorities formally acknowledge the killers. If the murderers have not been tried and punished until now, I think this is related to politics relating to the struggles of the Kurdish people”.
Despite such frustrations, Şaylemez believes that the case will progress. “I believe that the murderers will be prosecuted with the efforts of the Kurdish people. Whether it is the French government or any other government around the world who will defend human rights”, he hoped that the perpetrators would be found guilty.
“We, as families of the murdered women, will never stop following this case. With this massacre, those who enhanced the freedom struggle of the Kurdish people were targeted. This massacre is also against humanity. The French government and the countries that defend democracy in the world should carry out the necessary investigations to ensure that justice takes place as soon as possible, and find the murderers and their allies to judge them accordingly”.
Pekin’s statements ‘are confessions that reveal their defeat’
The comments of İsmail Hakkı Pekin, a former high ranking security official in Turkey’s top military intelligence unit, during a live broadcast on Turkish television triggered a heated debate regarding the assassinations.
Şaylemez said Pekin’s statements “are confessions that reveal their defeat. They aim to target the pioneers of the Kurdish movement with assassinations, especially in Europe, South Kurdistan, Rojava and Sinjar. He blurted out that confession. He may even deny it now, but we know that this is real. Divine justice takes them to the point of confession”.
Şaylemez also stated that Erdoğan made a similar confession at a rally that was held in Şanlıurfa on 9 March 2014. “Erdoğan admitted that this massacre was committed by FETO (he refers to the Gülen movement). Even if FETO members did this at that time, they were acting together within all institutions of the state. Regardless of which part of the state gave the order, the Turkish state and Erdoğan were responsible in this massacre. The perpetrators of this massacre must be brought to justice”, he said.