Attack on Kurds in Paris revives trauma of unresolved murders

The victims’ families have long pointed the finger at Turkey for masterminding the deaths of the three women, who were shot in the head and neck, and at France for failing to investigate properly.

“You aren’t protecting us. We’re being killed!” a young man shouted at police at the scene on Friday as he wept in the street.


Despite the suspicions in the community, there appears to be no evidence that Friday’s shooting had political motives or was linked to Turkey.

French authorities have been extremely cautious about suggesting a motive, with early suspicions being racism.

The suspected gunman is a 69-year-old French retired train driver with a history of violence against foreigners.

In December last year, he was charged with attacking migrants living in tents in eastern Paris with a sword, injuring at least two of them.

The man “was clearly targeting foreigners”, Interior Minister Darmanin told reporters, while adding it was “not certain” that he was aiming to kill “Kurds in particular”.

“We don’t yet know his exact motives,” he said.


Some demonstrators could be heard chanting slogans on Friday in support of the PKK, a Kurdish organisation designated as terrorist by Ankara, the European Union and others.

The PKK has waged an insurgency against the Turkish state since 1984, initially in support of an independent Kurdish state and latterly for greater Kurdish autonomy within Turkey.

Often described as the world’s largest people without a state, the Kurds are a Muslim ethnic group spread across Syria, Turkey, Iraq and Iran.

Turkey launches regular military operations against the PKK as well as Kurdish groups it accuses of being allies in neighbouring Syria and Iraq.

The Kurdish Democratic Council of France, an umbrella Kurdish group headquartered in the cultural centre targeted on Friday, also pointed the finger at Turkey on Friday.

“For us there is no doubt that it is a terror attack which has occurred just before the 10th anniversary of the triple murders of three Kurdish activists in Paris,” senior member Agit Polat told AFP.

The group called for a vigil on Friday evening.

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