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Kurds protest in Paris against 'assassin' Erdogan

AFP News
Thousands of Kurds demonstrated in Paris on Saturday in tribute to three murdered Kurdish rebels; this banner reads: "your silence is due to your complicity"

Thousands of Kurds protested in Paris on Saturday over the failure of the French authorities to convict anyone over the 2013 murders of three female Kurdish rebels in the French capital.

The demonstrators repeatedly chanted "Erdogan, assassin", in reference to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who held talks with French President Emmanuel Macron on Friday.

"Five years of silence, five years of denial of justice, five years of impunity," read one giant banner held aloft at the forefront of a demonstration which police said numbered some 4,700.

The bodies of the three women -- Sakine Cansiz, a 54-year-old founder of Turkey's outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), Fidan Dogan, 28, and 24-year-old Leyla Soylemez, were found with bullet wounds to the head and neck in central Paris in January 2013.

The Turkish national intelligence agency MIT officially denied any role in the killings, but French investigators at the time concluded Turkish spies were "implicated" in the case, according to a judicial source.

The only suspect, Turkish national Omer Guney, died in prison in late 2016 before his case came to trial.

Ali Dogan, brother of Fidan, demonstrated with other family members and said they "no longer have hope" of justice.

"I watched on television the press conference between Erdogan and Mr Macron yesterday. It's sad that the president did not mention the murder of my sister... it seems that we are hiding things and France doesn't want to divulge information to preserve its interests" with Turkey, he told AFP.

The Turkish state has fought a decades-long conflict against the PKK, which has resulted in about 40,000 people being killed since the 1980s.

Meanwhile, the Armenian community in France also expressed anger on Saturday over Erdogan's visit to Paris, saying it revealed him to be a "dictator".

"Recep Tayyip Erdogan showed the French his true face, a dictator who expresses himself as if he were in his palace, in defiance of the European standards which he claims to adhere to," said the Coordinating Council of the Armenian Organisations of France (CCAF).

At a press conference with Macron on Friday, Erdogan lashed out at a French reporter who asked him about claims that Ankara sent arms to Syria.

Erdogan told the journalist he was talking like a member of an outlawed group that he blames for last year's failed coup in Turkey.

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