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 Suspected Kurdish PKK members to stand trial in France

 Source : AFP | Agencies
  Kurd Net does not take credit for and is not responsible for the content of news information on this page

 


Suspected Kurdish PKK members to stand trial in France  30.7.2008





July 30, 2008

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 in Paris.

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 political freedoms.

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 | Agencies

** 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 Turkey.

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.

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" 

Southeastern Turkey: North Kurdistan ( Kurdistan-Turkey) wikipedia    

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