While one of the perpetrators of the assassination attempt against the Kurdish leaders in Belgium is walking free in France, another Kurdish refugee was handed over to Turkey.

While no arrest warrant has been issued for Zekeriya Çelikbilek, a member of the Turkish assassination squad recently convicted in Belgium, France has handed over several Kurdish refugees to the Turkish state in recent months.

The Democratic Kurdish Council of France (CDK-F) stated that Kurdish activist Mehmet Kopal was deported on 9 April 2024 and strongly condemned this practice.

Only two weeks ago, Kurdish activist Firaz Korkmaz was deported and arrested.

“This deportation is the result of co-operation between the French and Turkish authorities and is unacceptable and contrary to fundamental humanitarian values,” the CDK-F said.

“France, a country known for its defence of human rights, has deliberately organised this deportation, fully aware of the inhumane consequences and long years of imprisonment that await Mehmet Kopal in Turkey. The fact that the Turkish media welcomed this deportation reveals the long-standing close co-operation between France and Turkey and is a matter of great concern,” said the CDK-F, noting that they were also concerned by reports that another Kurdish activist, Serhat Gültekin, would soon be deported.

The statement pointed out that: “We cannot remain silent in the face of these injustices. We demand that the French authorities immediately put an end to these practices, which are contrary to human rights and the principles of the Republic. We call for international solidarity and urgent action to protect the rights and safety of Kurdish activists in France. The Kurdish Democratic Council in France remains committed to the struggle for justice and human rights and will no longer tolerate the deportation of Kurdish activists to Turkey.”

While France is deporting Kurdish refugees one by one, the perpetrators of assassination attempts and assassinations against Kurds are not prosecuted in any way.

Among them is Zekeriya Çelikbilek, who took part in an assassination attempt in 2017 against KONGRA GEL Co-Chair Remzi Kartal and KCK Executive Council Member Zübeyir Aydar. According to the French newspaper Le Point, Çelikbilek lives in the city of Reims and travels freely without making any changes to his daily life.

A Belgian court recently sentenced Turkish intelligence service officers Zekeriya Çelikbilek and Yakup Koç to five years in prison each in the assassination case. Yakup Koç, who is said to be in charge of the team, has fled to Turkey, while Çelikbilek lives in France. Many sources point out that Çelikbilek was also working for French intelligence.

French journalists Guillaume Perrier and Laure Marchand published a report entitled “Is France covering up the crimes of the Turkish services?”. Çelikbilek has been convicted in Belgium and is suspected of involvement in the 2013 attack in which three Kurdish women revolutionaries were murdered, and he lives in Reims. “The 55-year-old unemployed electrician was sentenced in February by the Court of Appeal in Brussels to 5 years in prison for inciting a criminal organisation to commit murder,” Perrier recalled on his X account.

The journalist emphasised Çelikbilek’s “undeniable” connection with MIT and shared the following: “Çelikbilek has been questioned four or five times by the French judiciary in recent months. While in police custody, he denied any connection to the triple murder in January 2013. He admitted to collaborating with a service to obtain a residence permit in France. In 2018, another prominent figure in the case, a man nicknamed “Petit Oiseau”, was also interviewed and claimed that Çelikbilek was working for the French police. No arrest warrant has been issued for Çelikbilek since his conviction on appeal in Belgium on 1 February 2024. According to lawyer Jan Fermon, it is highly unusual that no order or warrant of arrest warrant has been issued.”

ANF published many news items about the assassination team’s connections in Turkey. The case file contained photographs of Zekeriya Çelikbilek and Yakup Koç meeting with top Turkish officials in Paris and Ankara. This team had direct links with Ankara and even the Turkish Presidential Palace.


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