Tensions at Turkey funeral of Kurd killed in Paris

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People face police as they try to attend the funeral of singer and political refugee Mir Perwer, one of three Kurds killed in a December 2022 attack in Paris in the eastern Turkish city of Mus on January 5, 2023. - A xenophobic gunman, William Malet, has been charged over the attack in the French capital's 10th district, home to a large Kurdish population, which also wounded three others and fomented fear in the community. (Photo by ILYAS AKENGIN / AFP)

Security forces fired tear gas and rubber bullets in eastern Turkey on Thursday outside the funeral of a Kurdish singer killed in Paris last month, an Agence France-Presse (AFP) correspondent said, as fellow victims were laid to rest elsewhere.

Mir Perwer, a political refugee, was buried in the presence of family members in Mus province.

Police blocked roads leading to the village where the funeral was held, preventing several groups from reaching the ceremony, including members of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) and people who said they were relatives.

Videos posted on social media and Kurdish-language media showed police blocking one group.

Security forces fired tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse the groups, according to an AFP correspondent and videos filmed at the scene.

Officers used a water cannon, while men threw stones after not being able to attend the funeral.

The funeral of fellow attack victim Abdurrahman Kızıl was also held Thursday in a village in the northeastern Turkish province of Kars, local media reported.

Part of the convoy carrying his body was blocked near the funeral site, according to Yeni Yaşam, a media outlet close to the Kurdish movement, and Saliha Aydeniz, a lawmaker from the pro-Kurdish Democratic Regions Party (DBP).

Politically charged funeral

Mourners also gathered earlier in Iraqi Kurdistan for the politically charged funeral of Emine Kara, also shot dead in the December 23 attack outside a cultural center and hairdressing salon in Paris.

Members of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has waged a decades-long insurgency against Turkey and which Ankara much of the international community consider a terrorist group, joined the procession in Sulaimaniyah, an AFP correspondent said.

Kara was a veteran of the fight against the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group according to relatives, and a leader of the Movement of Kurdish Women in France linked to the PKK.

A French man, William Malet, has been charged over the attack in the French capital’s 10th district, home to a large Kurdish population, which also wounded three others and fomented fear in the community.

Kara’s coffin was flown into Sulaimaniyah, the second-largest city of Iraq’s autonomous Kurdistan region, two days after a procession in Paris.

According to an AFP correspondent, it was brought to the Iraqi Kurdish city’s Hajj Sur mosque and draped in a PKK flag.

The crowd chanted slogans glorifying “the martyr Evin Goyi” — Kara’s nom de guerre — and some people waved flags bearing the portrait of imprisoned PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan.

Kara’s relatives said she was to be buried in the Qandil mountains, north of Sulaimaniyah near the Iranian border, where the PKK has rear bases often targeted by Turkish raids.

War veteran

She traveled to France in 2020 for medical treatment after fighting IS in northern Syria, her brother, Ismail al-Hajj, told AFP at the funeral.

Kara had lived in France since then despite a rejected asylum claim.

She “fought against Daesh in northern Syria for five years and was wounded in the back during our battles in Kobane,” Hajj said, using another term for ISIL.

Malet, 69, has told investigators he had a “pathological” hatred for foreigners and wanted to “murder migrants,” French prosecutors say.

But Kara’s brother, much like other Kurds in Paris and in Iraqi Kurdistan, said he suspected other motives for the attack.

For Hajj, it was an act of “terrorism perpetrated by the Turkish intelligence services with the help of their French counterparts” due to his sister’s political activity.

French investigators have not given any indication of Ankara’s involvement.

Turkey last month slammed France over violent protests by Kurdish demonstrators in Paris, while the French ambassador in Ankara was summoned over “black propaganda launched by PKK circles,” according to a Turkish diplomatic source.

An estimated 25 to 35 million Kurds, often described as the world’s largest people without a state, are spread across Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran.

Source: Turkish Minute

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