PARIS (HPD) — Members of the Kurdish community in France and their allies held a silent march Monday in honor of the three people killed in the recent attack on a Kurdish cultural center in Paris.
For its part, Turkey summoned the French ambassador for what it called the “black propaganda” of Kurdish activists. Some marched in Paris carrying flags of the banned Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) or suggested Ankara was linked to the shooting. Turkey and some Western countries consider the PKK a terrorist organization.
A 69-year-old French man faces preliminary charges of racially motivated murder, attempted murder and illegal possession of weapons in the wake of Friday’s attack. The individual told detectives that his goal was to kill migrants or foreigners and then commit suicide, and that he harbored a “pathological” hatred of non-Europeans, according to prosecutors.
The suspect was briefly placed under psychiatric care, but then returned to regular police custody, and appeared before an investigating judge on Monday. His name has not been officially released, but the French press has identified him as William K.
The attack shocked and angered the French Kurdish community, which organized the silent march from the site of the attack to the site where three Kurdish activists were found dead in 2013.
Members of the Kurdish community say the police should have done more to protect the women. There were some skirmishes at the site of the attack on Friday, and then on the sidelines of a demonstration on Saturday that was mostly peaceful.
The prosecution maintains that it is obvious that the attacker acted out of racism.
French anti-racism activists and leftists have linked the attack to a racist and xenophobic climate online and in the rhetoric of far-right politicians. French authorities have reported an increase in crimes with racist or religious motives in recent years.
French authorities called Friday’s attack an isolated incident, but some Kurdish activists in Paris believe it was politically motivated.
Turkey summoned the French ambassador, Herve Magro, on Monday to convey its concern over what it called black propaganda that Kurdish groups are waging against Ankara after the attack, Turkey’s state news agency Anadolu reported.
Turkey “expects France to act prudently on the incident and not allow the terrorist organization (PKK) to further its cunning agenda,” Anadolu reported.
The PKK has waged an armed separatist insurgency against the Turkish state since 1984. The conflict has killed thousands and displaced more.
The Turkish army has fought PKK-affiliated militants in southeastern Turkey, northern Iraq and northern Syria.