France: Immigrants and Attack on Kurds

By Roni Turus

Three Kurdish were killed on 23 December in Paris.  A racist French nationalist was arrested.  The attack took place in a Kurdish Association, called Ahmet Kaya Cultural Centre, and some Kurdish workplaces.  

The killing of three people reminded Kurds around the world, the murder of three Kurdish women 10 years ago on January 9, 2013. Three women, Sakine Cansiz, Leyla Saylemez, and Fidan Dogan, were murdered in the Kurdistan Information Bureau by Ömer Güney, who was linked to Turkish intelligence.  Kurdish institutions in Paris raised their concerns and possibility of a link between Turkish intelligence and the French attacker.  

The attacker first entered the Ahmet Kaya Cultural Centre1 and opened fire, he later went ahead to open fire on a Kurdish restaurant and barber shop.

The same attacker was tried for attacking refugees in tent camps last year and was released pending trial a short time ago. It is reported that the suspect, who is known as an extreme rightist, has a criminal record for a stabbing incident in 2016.

Paris, Saturday January 7. LIS militants were in the massive solidarity march with the Kurdistan struggle and in repudiation of the recent murders. As the flag of the combative column of the left wing of the NPA rightly says: “Erdogan and extreme right murderers. French state complicit. Truth and justice for the Kurdish people.”

This attack has raised concerns and distressed in Europe where a large Kurdish population reside. Many institutions condemned the attack. After the incident, it was reported that security measures against Turkish and Kurdish groups’ buildings were strengthen.

Racism, and French Politics

The suspect has extreme right-wing views. He was known to be anti-immigrant and foreigners. The 90-year-old father of the suspect who carried out the attack stated that his son did not say anything when he left the house on the day of the incident, and that his son, whom he described as “crazy”, was a quiet and introverted person.

The French government has always used immigration to raise populism and racist feelings among the French population. French President Macron and his Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin have launched a campaign against ‘Islamic separatism’, even though there is no legal movement that advocates Islamic law or splitting from France. This kind of gallery talk lets reactionary sections of French society believe that immigration and Islam as grave threats to French identity and national survival.  

Whether it is Macron, Sarkozy or Chirac the French politician always used four I’s to dominate the presidential election. The elections were dominated by the ‘four I’s’ – immigration, insecurity, Islam, and Identity. It is no coincidence that more and more attacks on immigrants are a regular theme in French news.

1 Ahmet Kaya was a Kurdish singer who was attacked on the stage by Turkish racist/fascist in Turkey. He had to leave Turkey and settle in France. He, later on, died because of a heart attack in France.