PKK members’ bodies arrive in Diyarbakır

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The bodies of three female members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) who were shot dead in Paris last week arrived in Diyarbakır late Jan. 16.

Their transfer from Diyarbakır airport to the morgue of a private hospital turned into a mass demonstration as thousands of people accompanied the hearses carrying the bodies.

Both the police and Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) officials were on guard to prevent tension as everybody called for restraint against possible “provocations.”

Actors from across the political spectrum warned that the funeral ceremony of the three Kurdish women should not turn into a platform for “provocations.”

Before the bodies arrived in Diyarbakır, a large crowd had gathered near Diyarbakır airport, carrying posters of the three slain women while shouting “martyrs never die” in Kurdish. When youngsters approached police while they are waiting near the airport, elders warned them to keep back. During the people’s march to the hospital, police did not approach the crowd either.

A grand funeral ceremony for the three murdered women will be held Jan. 17 in the city’s Batıkent square, where massive participation is expected.

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.

Cansız will be buried in the eastern province of Tunceli; Doğan will be taken to Elbistan in the southern province of Kahramanmaraş, while Söylemez will be buried in the southern province of Mersin after the ceremony in Diyarbakır.

Speaking in Ankara at a party meeting, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said security forces would be “extremely sensitive and awake” in order to avoid provocations and sabotage during the ceremonies.

BDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş, for his part, said speaking about provocations insistently itself laid the ground for provocation. “Deep powers stage provocations, why would people stage provocations? It’s meaningless to create needless concerns for the funeral ceremony.”

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