POLITICS > Crowds at PKK funeral as bosses join peace chorus

DIYARBAKIR - Hürriyet Daily News

The southeastern Turkish province of Diyarbakır sees tens of thousands come to pay a tearful farewell to murdered Kurdish women as major business leaders join in locals’ pleas for peace

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Hüseyin Hayatsever Hüseyin Hayatsever huseyin.hayatsever@hdn.com.tr

Tens of thousands of people participated in a grand funeral ceremony held yesterday in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır for three Kurish women killed in Paris last week.

Despite worries of possible provocations and sabotage that would turn the ceremony into a violent protest, such fears did not materialize during the peaceful gathering, during which the women’s coffins were covered with the flags of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

Speaking at the ceremony, Kurdish politicians, including Ahmet Türk – an independent deputy and head of the Kurdish umbrella organization Democratic Society Congress (DTK) – as well as Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş, denounced military operations against Kandil mountain in northern Iraq, where PKK militants are based, once again stressing that Kurdish people demand peace, not war.

“Making peace is not possible while making war at the same time,” Demirtaş said.

Sakine Cansız, one of the founding members of the PKK; Fidan Doğan, the Brussels-based Kurdistan National Congress’ (KNK) Paris representative; and KNK Youth Union member Leyla Söylemez were murdered in the office of the Kurdistan Information Center in central Paris on Jan. 9. Their slaying came at a time when the government made public dialogue measures between intelligence officials and Abdullah Öcalan, the jailed leader of the PKK, in an effort to stop the decades-old conflict.

There is widespread agreement that the Paris killings aimed to halt the recent peace talks launched by the government. Many also raised concerns that the funeral ceremony would halt the process if “provocations and sabotage” occurred; however, the funeral did not cast a shadow over the process.

The women’s bodies arrived in Diyarbakır late Jan. 16 and their transfer from Diyarbakır airport to the morgue of a private hospital turned into a mass demonstration as thousands of people poured into the streets to accompany the hearses carrying the bodies. A flag of the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK), the urban wing of the PKK, was raised on a flagpole in the hospital’s garden after the bodies were brought to the hospital.

Wrapped in PKK flags, the coffins were brought to Diyarbakır’s Batıkent Square, where the ceremony was held, escorted by thousands of people carrying posters of the murdered PKK members. Banners read “We are all Sakine,Leyla and Fidan,” and slogans such as “The PKK is the people, the people are here,” and “martyrs never die,” were chanted. After the coffins arrived at Batıkent Square, white pigeons symbolizing peace were released.

[HH] People demand peace

In speeches expressing their sorrow, Kurdish politicians stressed that peace is their initial demand despite their grief.
“Everybody is expecting sensitivity from us. But here, our people have shown that they are ready for peace although we have lost three of our comrades. But peace can be possible with mutual respect,” Türk said.

The senior politician also said it was impossible to speak of peace when Kandil mountain is being bombarded by Turkish jets.

“I’m appealing to those who call on us to be sensitive for peace. Mr. Prime Minister, how can you talk about peace while Kandil is being bombarded? What kind of peace is being sought with this?” Türk said.

Demirtaş said people in the square were demanding an “honorable peace.”
“As mothers bid farewell to their children, they did not promise revenge. They demand peace. When will the world understand this stance? And when will the government understand this?” Demirtaş said.

He joined Türk in lamenting the air strikes on Kandil. “As we were talking about peace, seven Kurdish youngsters died on Kandil. It’s not possible to make peace while making war at the same time. If you seek peace, you have to be brave,” Demirtaş said.

Demirtaş, however, reiterated his party’s support of recent talks officials held with Abdullah Öcalan, the jailed leader of the PKK. “We support the resolution proposal that Mr. Öcalan has introduced or will introduce.”

“I’m appealing to those who seek to resolve this problem by negotiating with us; Kurdish people are backing us. Kurdish people back talks with Öcalan. Kurdish people demand peace even during funeral ceremonies. We see our people as the assurance of peace. And the government should take a concrete step to show that they back peace,” Demirtaş said.

BDP deputy Sebahat Tuncel said those who murdered the three Kurdish women aimed to disrupt efforts to resolve the Kurdish issue. “We promise that we will bring peace to this country,” she added.

Following the ceremony in Diyarbakır, Cansız was to be buried in the eastern province of Tunceli; Doğan was to be sent to Elbistan in the southern province of Kahramanmaraş, while Söylemez was to be interred in the southern province of Mersin.


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Notice on comments

john albay

1/18/2013 11:05:46 PM

These terrorist should not have been allowed into Turkey,even dead, as they hate our country and its people and killed 40,000 innocent people! As for their supporters they should leave Turkey if they dont like our country,they can live in iraq ,iran or syria,they should be happy there!

mesude salihli

1/18/2013 10:20:38 PM

Kurdish problem is complex. Before Turkification stops and more democracy (human, civil, political rights etc) comes to Turkey, the problem cannot be solved completely.

ilker avni

1/18/2013 6:47:09 PM

If Turkey treated the Kurds as human beings,they wouldnt be any PKK,for decades the Turkish goverment who preaches about discrimnation being a crime to others,it discrimnates against the Kurds for centuaries,they regarded as third class citizens and are treated disgracefully,Turkey who preache,s to others about freedom and demorcracy and yet it denies those same rights to its citizens,the AKP party have been in power long enough to make changes that the whole country is crying out for.


1/18/2013 6:41:56 PM

There is no forbidden langauge in Turkey as far as I know. There is however one official language, just as the case in countless other developed and advanced democracies. But do not let the facts distract you.

True Turk

1/18/2013 4:12:56 PM

@George DD The United States is also not homogeneous (correct spelling). It has millions of Italians and Hispanics, but they do not want to declare autonomy or do they? There is only one flag to be flown in Turkey and that is the Turkish flag. Ans the population of the Turkish state will be called Turkish as Americans in America and all different nationalities in Britain are called British! Don't cloud the issue!

mara mcglothin

1/18/2013 3:44:35 PM

GEORGE DD I don't think that today Turkey denies their ethnic groups, but don't you think it is wrong that children are born in Turkey don't speak the national language. I do believe that some responsibility falls on backward parenting to not teach/allow a child to learn the language of the country of your birth. So now Kurds are allowed to speak Kurdish and what? I am still mystified why some Kurds become welcome members of the Turkish state while others do not?

Adam Polk

1/18/2013 2:51:42 PM

these are Kurdish people who became president, prime minsters, ministers before. some of them still important politicians, turgut özal, abdulkadir aksu, dengir mir mehmet fırat, hüseyin çelik, recep akdağ. kurdish people are represented in every election. whoever says opposite hate seeing turkey together, one piece.

Adam Polk

1/18/2013 2:48:06 PM

this country has seen kurdish PM, president, minsters. there is nothing a kurdish citizen can not do. so what does PKK ask with guns?


1/18/2013 2:42:16 PM

One cannot have it both ways. You can not lament heavy hand of Turkish state and talk about laying down arms and then do not mention once your own armed sons and daughters murdering and roaming the mountains looking for ways to kill more and destroy. Such nonsense and hipporacy. Armed forces of a nation can not be compared to armed terrorists. There is only one party here that will lay down their arms. It ain't TSK.

Falk Bernard

1/18/2013 1:38:30 PM

George DD: if people in Turkey have complaints, then they can use democratic ways to do that. Not by killing thousands of people.
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