Open Letter to the French Ambassador in LONDON                                                     12-01-2013
58 Knightsbridge, LONDON SW1X 7JT

Call for a thorough investigation into the apparent assassination of three Kurdish politicians in exile in Paris

On the evening of 09.01.2013, Sakine Cansiz, a founding member of the PKK, Fidan Dogan, a representative of the KNK, and Leyla Soylemez, a young activist, were all victims of a callous killing in the office of the Kurdish Information Centre in Paris. Not only does the use of silencers point to a professional contract killing, but other facts also, for example, the targeted shoot to kill.

The timing of the attack implies a connection to the most recent political peace negotiations: For some weeks, negotiations were being held between representatives of the Turkish government; the leader of the PKK, Abdullah Ocalan, who is imprisoned in total isolation on Imrali prison island; and the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP). The attack on political exiles can therefore be considered as provocation and an act of sabotage against a possible renewed peace process.

But the French influencing factors cannot be left out of consideration. A few months ago, French Judge Thierry Fragnoli, who is responsible for anti-terror matters, spoke to this effect, when it was proposed that a group of 4 judges, 8 lawyers and 28 commissioners would work exclusively with regard to Kurds in France. How, under such strict observation, such a murder could happen, is highly suspect. In light of this, the reaction of the French Home Secretary that “the murder was unacceptable” – downplays the true gravity of the incident.

Because of this, the following questions arise, for which we expect answers from you and the French government.

  • How could it happen that the culprit(s) could commit this cold-blooded murder by day in such a populated area, when, in France, Kurdish activists, certainly including the victims of the murder, are under constant observation by state security and the police?
  • Is there no video recording of the culprits? If so, why has this been withheld from the public?
  • Did the French secret service have any information of a possible murder before the act took place? If so, why was this not made public and/or the victims not warned about this?

Against the backdrop that the French authorities did not shy away from the illegal arrest of Kurdish political activist, Adem Uzun, even cooperating with the Turkish secret service, it is absolutely incomprehensible that the French authorities were in no position to stop the act. If there is, therefore, no prompt explanation for the murder, the Kurdish community would question, for better or worse, the role of France in the Kurdish conflict. The confidence of around 150 000 Kurds in France, in the French government and in their authorities is shaken anyway. Reasons being the state repression against Kurdish activists, closures of Kurdish organisations, or the inconsistent attacks on Kurdish facilities, for instance the burning down on a Kurdish organisation in Mulhouse at the end of December last year. The Kurdish community will pursue the examination of French authorities around this incident, and continue to question the words of French Home Secretary Manuel Valls all the more, because those responsible will have to get to the bottom of this “unacceptable act”.

We completely condemn this attack, and demand a full investigation into the circumstances of the killing and its background! The fact that the French authorities share responsibility for this act must not be disregarded. With raids of Kurdish organisations and the arrest of Kurdish activists in the last year, French police and justice may have contributed to this crime. We call on the French government to reassess its anti-Kurdish policies.

We ask you to reply to all the queries of the Kurdish community.


Akif R.WAN


Representative of KNK in The UK
6-9 Manor Gardens
London, N7 6LA