PIK commemorates Sakine, Fidan and Leyla

Peace in Kurdistan released a statement in memory of Sakine Cansız, Fidan Doğan (Rojbin), Leyla Şaylemez, on the 8th anniversary of their killing.

On 9 January 2021 is the eighth anniversary of the brutal assassination in Paris of Sakine Cansız (Sara), KNK Paris representative Fidan Doğan (Rojbin), Youth Movement member Leyla Şaylemez (Ronahi), three prominent Kurdish women political activists. Sadly, even after all these years, the case remains unresolved.

The women were conducting their work at the Kurdish Information Centre when a Turkish man entered the Office and shot each of them in the head. It is clear that the killings were politically motivated and were ordered in Ankara. 

Peace in Kurdistan Campaign said in a statement in memory of the three women politicians: "As Turkey continues its descent into authoritarianism in 2021 and anti-women policies continue to proliferate, we remember these inspiring women with respect and admiration."

The statement reminded that "Sakine was a deeply inspiring life-long activist and founding member of the PKK. She spent many years imprisoned in terrible conditions and was tortured in Diyarbakir prison in the 1980s after the military coup. She led the protest movement inside the prison and after her release joined the armed struggle for Kurdish liberation. She was the powerful force and inspiration for the Kurdish women’s movement, which remains, to this day, a beacon of hope for women in the Middle East, and which was at the forefront of the battle against ISIS in Syria. Fidan and Leyla were also talented and dedicated activists, each playing an important role in the international work for the liberation of the Kurdish people."

The statement added: "The slaughter of these three courageous Kurdish women came at a time in 2013 when Abdullah Ocalan had called for the weapons to fall silent and for ideas to speak. There was much optimism that the new peace process would bear fruit. Their murders were symbolic of the brutal turn from the path of peace towards a renewed conflict. The hopes of many were dashed as their bloodied bodies lay dying."

Peace in Kurdistan Campaign said: "We continue to hold out hope that the process can be restarted and are convinced that this would be the most fitting tribute to these women, who worked tirelessly for the freedom of their people and gave their lives for the struggle.

The suspect in the case, who was linked to the Turkish security services in Ankara, died in suspicious circumstances in a French prison suddenly on 17th December 2017, a month before his trial was due to start, which has meant there was no closure for family and friends. We still don’t know the full facts about what happened on that fateful day eight years ago today or who exactly gave the order.  Peace in Kurdistan condemns the impunity for this crime, which remains a deep stain on the integrity of the French justice system."

The statement ends with the following remarks: "We salute and honour the memory of Sakine, Fidan and Leyla and their example will continue to inspire our efforts for peace and justice for the Kurdish people. In our collective memory and that of all Kurdish patriots they will live on."