“We salute and honour the memory of Sakine, Fidan and Leyla and their example will continue to inspire our efforts for peace and justice for the Kurdish people. In our collective memory and that of all Kurdish patriots they will live on.”
PEACE IN KURDISTAN
On 9 January 2021 is the eighth anniversary of the brutal assassination in Paris of Sakine, Fidan and Leyla, three prominent Kurdish women political activists. Sadly, even after all these years, the case remains unresolved.
The women were conducting their work at the Kurdish Information Centre when a Turkish man entered the Office and shot each of them in the head. It is clear that the killings were politically motivated and were ordered in Ankara. As Turkey continues its descent into authoritarianism in 2021 and anti-women policies continue to proliferate, we remember these inspiring women with respect and admiration.
Sakine was a deeply inspiring life-long activist and founding member of the PKK. She spent many years imprisoned in terrible conditions and was tortured in Diyarbakir prison in the 1980s after the military coup. She led the protest movement inside the prison and after her release joined the armed struggle for Kurdish liberation. She was the powerful force and inspiration for the Kurdish women’s movement, which remains, to this day, a beacon of hope for women in the Middle East, and which was at the forefront of the battle against ISIS in Syria. Fidan and Leyla were also talented and dedicated activists, each playing an important role in the international work for the liberation of the Kurdish people.
The slaughter of these three courageous Kurdish women came at a time in 2013 when Abdullah Ocalan had called for the weapons to fall silent and for ideas to speak. There was much optimism that the new peace process would bear fruit. Their murders were symbolic of the brutal turn from the path of peace towards a renewed conflict. The hopes of many were dashed as their bloodied bodies lay dying.
We continue to hold out hope that the process can be restarted and are convinced that this would be the most fitting tribute to these women, who worked tirelessly for the freedom of their people and gave their lives for the struggle.
The suspect in the case, who was linked to the Turkish security services in Ankara, died in suspicious circumstances in a French prison suddenly on 17th December 2017, a month before his trial was due to start, which has meant there was no closure for family and friends. We still don’t know the full facts about what happened on that fateful day eight years ago today or who exactly gave the order. Peace in Kurdistan condemns the impunity for this crime, which remains a deep stain on the integrity of the French justice system.
We salute and honour the memory of Sakine, Fidan and Leyla and their example will continue to inspire our efforts for peace and justice for the Kurdish people. In our collective memory and that of all Kurdish patriots they will live on.
Statement, 9 January 2021
Peace in Kurdistan
Campaign for a political solution of the Kurdish Question
Contacts Estella Schmid: 07846 666 804 & Melanie Gingell: 07572 430903
Patrons: John Austin, Baroness Blower of Starch Green, former GS NUT, Prof Bill Bowring, Julie Christie, Noam Chomsky, Jeremy Corbyn MP, Prof Mary Davis, Lord Dholakia, Simon Dubbins, UNITE International Director, Jill Evans, former MEP, Desmond Fernandes, Lindsey German, Convenor STWC, Melanie Gingell, Christopher Gingell, Prof Dr. Michael Gunter, Secretary-General, EU Turkey Civic Commission (EUTCC), Rahila Gupta, journalist, Nick Hildyard, policy advisor, Dafydd Iwan, Former President Plaid Cymru, James Kelman, Bruce Kent, Jean Lambert, former MEP, Dr Les Levidow, Open University, Elfyn Llwyd, John McDonnell MP; Aonghas MacNeacail, Scottish Gaelic poet, Mike Mansfield QC, David Morgan, journalist, Doug Nicholls, General Secretary, GFTU, Dr. Jessica Ayesha Northey, Sinn Fein MLA Conor Murphy, Dr Thomas Jeffrey Miley, Kate Osamor MP, Margaret Owen OBE, Ali Gul Ozbek, Former Councillor and Mayor of Haringey; Gareth Peirce, Dr Felix Padel, Maxine Peake, actor, Dr Thomas Phillips, Liverpool John Moores University, Trevor Rayne, writer, Joe Ryan, Tony Simpson, Bertrand Russell Peace Foundation, Stephen Smellie, PIK Trade Union Liaison Officer, Jonathan Steele, journalist, Steve Sweeney, journalist, Gianni Tognoni, General Secretary Permanent People’s Tribunal, Dr Tove Skutnabb-Kangas, Dr Federico Venturini, Associate Researcher, University of Udine, Italy; Dr Tom Wakeford, Dr Derek Wall, Julie Ward, former MEP, Kariane Westrheim, Chair, EU Turkey Civic Commission (EUTCC); Hywel Williams MP.