Suspected Kurdish PKK members to stand
trial in France
PARIS, France, — French prosecutors have sent
11 young Kurds for trial over a series of fire bomb
attacks on Turkish targets in France that injured
several people, some seriously, sources close to the
case said Tuesday.
They are all suspected of being sympathisers of the
Turkey's separatist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK),
which is classified as a "terrorist" group by
Turkey, the United States and the European Union.
The suspects, most of them in their early 20s, are
accused of having carried out molotov cocktail
attacks on two Turkish cafes in the southwest city
of Bordeaux, and in Marseille on the southern
Mediterranean coast in March 2007.
They are thought to have been behind a similar
attack against a Turkish cultural association in
Bordeaux later the same month.
Two of the suspects were arrested in April 2007
shortly after another fire bomb attack in Bordeaux
on a cafe popular with the Turkish community. The
pair were allegedly carrying a petrol-soaked bag.
A number of people were injured in these attacks,
some of whom had suffered serious burns.
The defendants will face charges ranging from
destruction of property,www.ekurd.net
the manufacture and use
of explosives, and criminal association -- all "in
relation to a terrorist enterprise."
Seven of the suspects have also been charged with
"financing terrorism", having allegedly carried out
fundraising for the PKK.
Most of the defendants were arrested in June 2007 on
the outskirts of Paris or in and around Bordeaux and
Marseille but only two of the suspects are still in
custody. Investigators say they are all suspected of
being members of the PKK's youth wing.
The first trial in France connected with the
activities of the PKK in more than a decade, it is
due to start towards the end of the year, said a
source close to the case.
A 12th suspect who was still a minor at the time of
the attacks has been sent before the juvenile court
Since 1984 when the
Turkey's Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK)
took up arms for self-rule in the country's mainly
Kurdish southeast of Turkey (Turkey-Kurdistan). A large Turkey's
Kurdish community openly sympathise with the Kurdish PKK rebels.
The PKK demanded Turkey's recognition of the Kurds'
identity in its constitution and of their language
as a native language along with Turkish in the
country's Kurdish areas, the party also demanded
an end to ethnic discrimination in Turkish laws and
constitution against Kurds, ranting them full
The PKK is considered a 'terrorist' organization by
Ankara, U.S., the PKK continues to be on the
blacklist list in EU despite court ruling which
overturned a decision
to place the Kurdish rebel
group PKK and its political wing on
the European Union's terror list.
Turkey refuses to recognize its Kurdish population
as a distinct minority. It has allowed some cultural
rights such as limited broadcasts in the Kurdish
language and private Kurdish language courses with
the prodding of the European Union, but Kurdish politicians
say the measures fall short of their expectations.
Copyright, respective author or news agency, AFP |
** Kurds are not recognized as an official minority
in Turkey and are denied rights granted to other
minority groups. Under EU pressure, Turkey recently
granted Kurds limited rights for broadcasts and
education in the Kurdish language, but critics say
the measures do not go far enough.
The use of the term "Kurdistan" is vigorously
rejected due to its alleged political implications
by the Republic of Turkey, which does not recognize
the existence of a "Turkish Kurdistan" Southeast
Others estimate over 40 million Kurds live in Big
Kurdistan (Iraq, Turkey, Syria, Iran, Armenia),
which covers an area as big as France, about half of
all Kurds which estimate to 20 million live in
Turkey is home to 25 million ethnic Kurds, a large
Turkey's Kurdish community openly sympathise with
the Kurdish PKK for a Kurdish homeland in the
country's mainly Kurdish southeast of Turkey.
Before August 2002, the Turkish government placed
severe restrictions on the use of Kurdish language,
prohibiting the language in education and broadcast
media. The Kurdish alphabet is still not recognized
in Turkey, and use of the Kurdish letters X, W, Q
which do not exist in the Turkish alphabet has led
to judicial persecution in 2000 and 2003
The Kurdish flag flown officially in Iraqi Kurdistan
but unofficially flown by Kurds in Armenia. The flag
is banned in Iran, Syria, and Turkey where flying it
is a criminal offence"
North Kurdistan (
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