Female activists killed become symbol of Kurdish struggle (again)

Pro-Kurdish parties blame Turkish authorities for the deaths of Seve Demir, Fatma Uyar, Pakize Nayir · "Targeting of three women not a coincidence," HDP co-chair says · Murders take place 3 years after killings of another 3 Kurdish activists in

From left to right: Pakize Nayir, Fatma Uyar and Seve Demir.
From left to right: Pakize Nayir, Fatma Uyar and Seve Demir.
"The targeting of three women in the vanguard of the resistance was not a coincidence. They targeted the freedom struggle of all women." This is how pro-Kurdish HDP party co-chair Figen Yuksekdag reacted to the killing of Kurdish political activists Seve Demir, Fatma Uyar and Pakize Nayir on January 4th in Silopi, North Kurdistan (Turkey). The three killings -in the midst of a spiral of violence that has now lasted for months- took place a few days before the commemoration of the 3rd anniversary of the assassination of Kurdish activists Sakine Cansiz, Fidan Dogan and Leyla Söylemez in Paris.

Curfew-hit Silopi is one of several towns marred by conflict between the Turkish forces on the one side, and the PKK and urban guerrillas supporting it, on the other. The conflict has claimed at least hundreds of lives since July 2015.

HDP and pro-Kurdish Democratic Party of Regions (DBP) sources argue Turkish authorities are responsible for the murder of the three women and an unidentified man. HDP MP Aycan Irmez complains that neither emergency services or health authorities sent ambulances to help the victims.

Irmez linked these recent killings to those of the three Kurdish activists in Paris three years ago: "The perpetrators are the same. Still, if they think they can eliminate us by executing our women and children, they are wrong. We will follow in their footsteps and wage a struggle until their dreams of a free country are realised."

HDP stands at the left of the political spectrum in Turkey. The party calls for a democratic solution to the Turkish-Kurdish conflict and autonomy for the Kurdish provinces. The party has feminism, environmentalism and respect for diversity as fundamental pillars.

Paris investigations point to Turkish secret services

The killings of Cansiz, Dogan and Söylemez wom global notoriety among other reasons because they took place in the heart of the French capital. Turkish authorities immediately suggested the murders could be linked to a PKK internal conflict, Cansiz being one of the group's original founders.

But official investigations by the German intelligence and the French inquiry later pointed to the involvement of the Turkish secret services in the killings.