Kurdish dissidents today accused Ankara of using Turkish death squads to track them down throughout Europe. A Berlin-based journalist who goes under the name of Mustafa believes Ankara and international intelligence services are working together. “We know Erdogan has ordered assassinations and the silence of opposition voices, but they must be cooperating with the authorities here. This shadow war against Kurds means that we are not secure anywhere and must constantly look over our shoulders,” he explained.
“The execution of Sakine Cansiz demonstrates this. Her assassination must have been carried out with the assistance of French intelligence,” he further added, alluding to the 2013 assassination of the PKK co-founder in Paris, along with two other female dissidents. “The longer the world turns a blind eye to Turkey, the more dangerous our lives become.” He was commenting as a court hearing in Belgium started on Friday against an accused Turkish death squad with potential ties to the government.
According to investigations, the covert team intended to assassinate Kongra-Gel co-chair Remzi Kartal and Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK) executive member Zubeyir Ayda. It was also discovered that the Turkish team’s headquarters were in Paris, with French officials aware of the network. Wiretaps, pictures, and papers indicate “an obvious connection to the Erdogan regime,” according to individuals close to the investigation. The issue was brought to light in 2017 when Haci Akkulak informed Kurdish officials and Belgian police that he was participating in an espionage operation that included killings. He has implicated a lot of major officials whom he believes were engaged in the funding and coordination of the operation, which is thought to have targeted exiled Turkish government dissidents.
Earlier this year, a crowd knocked Kurdish writer Gokhan Yavuzel unconscious outside his Cardiff house, shortly after his name was revealed to be on a “hit list” of opponents of Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). The identities of 55 persons were published on the Jitemkurt Twitter account, which is named after the infamous paramilitary Jitem organization, which is responsible for the killing, torture, and disappearance of thousands of Kurds. The publication of the names of exiled Kurdish dissidents was followed by assaults on journalists located in Germany. Among those named as targets are former Cumhuriyet newspaper editor-in-chief Can Dundar and former Peoples’ Democratic Party MP Osman Baydemir.