Turkish riot police try to disperse protesters during a demonstration marking the first anniversary of the killing of three Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) members in France, in Istanbul.
Turkish police fired tear gas and plastic bullets yesterday at hundreds of demonstrators demanding justice for three female Kurdish rebels killed in Paris a year ago.
Security forces moved in to break up a crowd of about 500 to 600 Kurdish protesters shouting “We want justice” as they marched towards the French consulate in Istanbul.
The three activists including Sakine Cansiz – a co-founder of the banned Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) – were killed on January 9 last year at the Kurdish Information Centre in Paris.
Police later arrested and charged 30-year-old Turkish national Omer Guney over the triple murder but the motive remains unknown.
French authorities described him as an ethnic Kurd who had acted as an occasional driver for Cansiz.
But the PKK denied that Guney was one of its members.
Turkey has suggested that the murders bore the hallmarks of an internal feud within the PKK between opponents and supporters of peace talks.
Lawmaker Sebahat Tuncel, co-leader of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), denounced the harsh police treatment of demonstrators.
“Don’t put the barricades in front of the women or the resolution of the Kurdish issue. Put them in front of those who try to obstruct peace,” said Tuncel, who was among the protesters.
“Instead of solving the murder, they are intervening on those who protest against it. This approach is a proof of how the Turkish republic defends it (the murders),” she was quoted as saying by the Dogan news agency.
The PKK, which is blacklisted as a terrorist organisation by Turkey and much of the international community, launched an insurgency seeking self-rule in the southeast in 1984 that has claimed more than 45,000 lives.