Masses turn out to pay final respects to PKK members
DIYARBAKIR - Hürriyet Daily News
A huge funeral ceremony for three female members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) who were shot dead in Paris last week has been held in Diyarbakır's Batıkent Square with the participation of tens of thousands of people.
Some had expressed fears of provocations and sabotage before the ceremony, but no public order problem was experienced, and the crowd dispersed peacefully at the event’s conclusion. Meanwhile, police officers especially avoided approaching too closely to the square.
The bodies of the PKK members were brought to the ceremony area with hearses while thousands of people marched alongside the vehicles. People wore black symbolizing their grief and wore head coverings symbolizing peace.
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 bodies arrived in Diyarbakır late Jan. 16.
The coffins were wrapped in flags of the PKK while posters of the murdered female members were held aloft by the public. People carried banners saying "We are all Sakine," "We are all Leyla," and "We are all Fidan," and chanted slogans such as "The PKK is the people, the people are here," and "martyrs never die." After the coffins arrived at Batıkent Square, white pigeons symbolizing peace were released.
Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) deputies also delivered speeches expressing their sorrow during the event.
"Everybody is expecting sensitivity from us. But here, our people have showed that they are ready for peace although we have lost three of our comrades. But peace can be possible with mutual respect," said Ahmet Türk, an independent deputy and co-chair of Kurdish umbrella organization Democratic Society Congress (DTK).
Türk also said it was impossible to speak about peace when Kandil, a mountain in northern Iraq where PKK militants are mainly based, are 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.
BDP co-chair Selahattin 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?" Demirtaş said.
The BDP co-chair also lamented the air strikes on Kandil. "As we were talking about peace, seven Kurdish young people 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 for government officials' recent talks with Abdullah Öcalan, the jailed leader of the PKK. "We support the resolution proposal that Mr. Öcalan has introduced or will introduce," he added.
Following the ceremony in Diyarbakır, Cansız was set 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.