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Tens of Thousands Attend Funeral of Slain Kurdish Activists

Thousands attend the funeral ceremony of the three Kurdish activists shot in Paris, in Diyarbakir, Turkey, January 17, 2013.
A funeral ceremony for the three Kurdish activists killed in Paris took place in Diyarbakir, Turkey Thursday. The ceremony turned into a powerful show of force for the Kurdish nationalist movement.
Tens of thousands of people filled the streets of Diyarbakir, the regional capital of Turkey's predominantly Kurdish region, to pay their last respects to the slain activists.
Sabahat Tuncel, a parliamentary deputy for the pro Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party, sent a defiant message.
"Those forces who shot these bullets should know that you will never achieve your goal," she said. "You will never achieve making us give up our struggle for peace."

One of the women killed, Sakine Cansiz, was a founding member of the Kurdistan Workers Party, the PKK, that has been fighting the Turkish state for decades for autonomy and greater minority rights.
Kurdish politicians charge that certain elements inside the Turkish security forces are behind the killings. While Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan suggested the killings were the result of an internal dispute within the PKK.
But both sides agree the motive for the assassinations was to derail tentative government efforts to end the decades-long conflict with the PKK.
Addressing the funeral ceremony, the leader of the main pro Kurdish party said, despite the killings, his movement is committed to peace efforts. After the ceremony the bodies of the three women were driven in convoys of supporters to their hometowns where they will be buried Friday.

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