Sakine Cansiz’s double struggle : Abolition of patriarchy & Autonomy of Kurdistan
Translation by Francine Sporenda
Sakine Cansiz is a secular feminist fighter known for her charisma , her courage, her fighting spirit, her persistance and her prestige within the Kurdish community. Her contribution to the cause of Kurdish autonomy is widely respected and is the reason why she spent years in jail, and has been tortured, exiled and finally murdered in France by Turkey’s Secret services (MIT).
« Sara » was her war name during the years she spent as leader and figurehead of the Kurdish resistance against Turkish repression : she played a major role in the Kurdish armed struggle and was a co-founder of the PKK (Workers’ Party of Kurdistan). The PKK, founded in 1978 by Sakine Cansiz and Abdullah Öcallan, is an organization identified as a guerrilla movement that demands the autonomy of the territories occupied by the Kurdish populations spread between Turkey, Syria, Iran and Iraq.
Sakine Cansiz’ struggle was double because, as a feminist, she fought to abolish patriarchy and for the birth of an egalitarian society without gender discriminations and respectful of human rights as well as for Kurdish autonomy and the official existence of Kurdistan as a recognized State among nations. Sakine Cansz is a model for Kurdish women and for all Kurdish people. Her whole life has been devoted to fighting this double oppression : the patriarchal system and the refusal of the States in the Middle East area to acknowledge Kurdish right to self-determination.
« My whole life has been a struggle »
Sakine Cansiz was born in 1958 in the province of Tunceli located East of Turkey, where the majority of the population is Kurdish and Alevi. She was arrested in 1979 by the Turkish police for having created a branch of the PKK in the province of Elazig and sentenced to 24 years in jail.
She was imprisoned in the prison of Dyarbakir, located in South West Anatolia, and was regularly tortured by Turkish authorities during her incarceration—which is what happens usually to political prisoners in Turkey. Sakine Cansiz became a hero of the Kurdish people for her bravery during the battles fought by the Kurdish resistance in the mountains and for her resistance to torture : she was bold enough to spit in the face of her torturers and stood up to them. Her brother, Metin Cansiz, was also jailed in Dyarbakir. In 1984, the PKK decided to resort to armed struggle against Ankara, and this resulted in more than 40 000 casualties for the Kurdish rebellion. The PKK insurrection, which started in August 1984 in South East Anatolia (by the proclamation of a state of emergency extended to several provinces) ended up in a bloodbath but the conflict resumed in 2015. Sakine Cansiz was the first member of the PKK to deliver a political speech during the « trials » organized by the regime responsible for the Turkish military coup. In 1988, during one of these mock trials, she was sentenced to 76 years of imprisonment, a very harsh sentence because she dared to use the Kurdish language in front of the court ; this was considered an outrage by the Turkish government, and her initial jail time was tripled.
« Sara » : feminist leader of the Kurdish cause
Sakine Cansiz’ feminism came from her realisation that the Kurdish women were oppressed as a sex class, and from her knowledge of marxism as the source of her political consciousness. Also, Sakine Cansiz was keen on making women’s voices heard, on giving them visibility, more autonomy and more political clout. In order to reach this goal, she never hesitated to put herself on the spot when necessary, despite the fact that, for a while, she was the only woman in an exclusively masculine assembly.
Sakine Cansiz’ involvement in revolutionnary circles started very early on, during the 70’s, before she left for Ankara and against her family’s wishes. Her commitment to the struggle for Kurdish autonomy started when she was young, as she took part in the creation of the PKK in November 1978 in Lice (not far from the city of her birth) when she was only 20. She met Abdallah Öcallan in the capital of Turkey, and they decided to create the PKK together. Abdallah then convened about 20 militants in Lice, in South West Turkey, a mostly Kurdish areas, to start the PKK with her. The name « Sara » became her war name when she was released from prison and from then on, she played a leading role in the Kurdish cause.
Thanks to her feminist analysis, « Sara » showed an unflagging determination to forward the cause of women’s rights while dealing with a very masculine party apparatus : this in itself was a major revolution. Due to major male casualties combined with Kurdish women’s strong desire to take part in the armed struggle, the ideological education of the militants of both sexes became a priority. The Kurdish Lebanese training camp was turned into a military academy and, in 1988, women’s liberation was acknowledged as a priority of the movement. Under the impulse of its co-founder, multidisciplinary workshops of « jineology » were created to build the foundations of a « Science of Women » providing concrete analyses of the real experiences of women victims of male violence, fully centered on their lives. The goal was to elaborate feminist concepts, through organizations and women only educational centers free from any institutional framework, so as to start a movement of emancipation among women through the transmission of this knowledge. Originally, the PKK recruited mostlly in academic circles and its members were mostly marxist intellectuals but during the 80s, the new recruits were illiterate or poorly educated and came from rural areas or from villages destroyed by the Turks. This brought about the realisation that it was becoming urgent to make women’s voices heard within the movement so a free Kurdistan would not oppress half its population.
The goal of the Kurdish Women Liberation Movement led by « Sara » is to establish women’s equality as a norm within civil society as well as on the battlefield. « Sara » was killed at a time when the political vision of the Kurds was taking shape in Rojava (Syrian Kurdistan) : they were implementing a secular democracy (direct or participative) guaranteeing equal treatment for all citizens, regardless of their gender , religion, ethnic origin or sexual orientation. This political system also emphasized the protection of the environment, an anti-capitalist system of self-management and self-defense of the area. In Rojava, Kurdish women have obtained important new rights, such as a percentage of at least 40% of women in committees and an equal number of men and women in positions of leadership in political and social organizations. Women have contributed to this democratic autonomy and were even a cornerstone of it. Contrary to the general situation of women in Middle Eastern parliaments, they have real decisional power at every level of the administration. Kurdish women have underlined repeatedly that their progress is the result of 30 years of revolutionnary struggle for the Kurdish people and of feminist strugle within the Liberation movement itself. They have also insisted on the importance of women only organizations in this process.
Due to the fact that a committed feminist like Sakine Cansiz was a leader of the PKK, Kurdish women no longer had to remain silent : they coud finally have a political status, but this was the outcome of a constant struggle : women’s rights were never granted willingly by patriarchy, women had to fight tooth and nail for them. Kurdish women are faced with an array of oppressions that add up to eachother : living in patriarchal societies under the yoke of islam, while at the same time belonging to a nation without a state—all of which made them particularly conscious of the importance of freedom. Freedom is the goal they are striving for, and not just in the abstract sense of the word. In 1987, the Kurdish women of Europe also started a feminist movement from abroad and created the Association of Patriotic Women of Kurdistan, a group that played an important part in the fight against male violence. But it’s the colonialist policies of forced integration erasing their culture that played a major role in rallying them to political action and led them to understand the systemic nature of the violences they were dealing with—as well as the concept of non-separation of public and private. The women of this movement also organized popular feminist education meetings for men, in order to raise their consciousness regarding the inequality between the sexes in patriarchal societies and to reverse social conditioning.
« Sara » played a major role in the fight of Kurdish women’s for their rights and for Kurdistan’s freedom, in particular when she started the first women only organizations in the mid-90s, before her exile in Europe. She fought against male domination in different contexts, in particular inside her own party and, in 1995, she also co-founded the Union of Free Women of Kurdistan. This movement turned itself into a political party in 1999 : the Kurdistan’s Women Workers Party, which became later the Party for the Liberation of Kurdish Women , reflecting the fact that these women wanted to build a new social contract based on women’s emancipation and safety in a more human-centered society. Their goal was to put an end to domestic violence and femicide in a society free from the control of religion, to get rid of traditional views and to protect themselves against the dangers and oppression of religious fundamentalism.
« Sara » took part in a number of military actions in a hostile mountainous environment and called the Kurds to revolt, which led them to inflict seveal defeats on the Turkish army. « Sara» was an outstanding fighter and moved around in different Kurdish areas in Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran. In 1997, the PKK was registered by the United States and several European countries as a terrorist organization, due to its claimed ambition to create an independent Kurdistan through armed struggle. This led to the division of the PKK in four different entities : the PRD for Turkey, the PYD for Syria, the PCDK for Iraq and the PJAK for Iran (and other entities) in order to confuse the ennemy. The PKK was also accused of drug trafficking by the US, supposedly to finance their « guerrilla war » against Turkey.
In 1998, « Sara » was granted political asylum in France, where she lived for several years. However, in 2007, she was arrested in Hamburg by the German police following an international arrest warrant launched against her by Ankara, but she was finally released after having spent more than a month in jail. Havig identified the major role played by « Sara » in collecting funds for the PKK in Europe, the US planned her arrest. In February 1999, Abdullah Öcallan was also arrested in Kenya following a joint operation by the Turkish and American secret services ; the Israeli secret services (Mossad) may have also helped the Turks. Initially, the co-founder of the PKK was sentenced to death, on the grounds of treason and attempting to divide Turkey but « Apo’s » sentence was commuted to a life sentence due to the abolition of the death penalty in Turkey as a condition for opening negociations towards European Union membership. He is still jailed in the Imrali prison, located in the Marmara Sea (Turkey) where he is submitted to constant abuse and pressure. On September 1st, 1999, from his jail, « Apo » ordered to put an end to armed struggle, but this cease-fire , having been decided unilaterally, was to be contested later on by the PKK who instead organized a serie of kamikaze attacks.
When she was living in France, « Sara » was definitely a first rate leader of the PKK in Europe, due to her political committment, her outstanding record, and her lobbying in favor of the PKK and women’s rights. But she was also working closely with the PKK military leadership engaged in combat zones and relayed information about the many abuses against the Kurds observed in Turkey : illegal arrests and « unsolved murders» of Kurdish militants. In 2012, a movement against the Turkish government was launched in Strassburg (France) within the Kurdish community, and they demanded better detention conditions for Abdullah Öcalan, as he was kept in complete isolation and without access to a lawyer ; according to the authorities, 40 000 persons took part in these demonstrations. After 30 years of tireless militant activity and involvement in the armed struggle, « Sara » was finally occupying a strategic political position, while at the same time playing a key role in the financial management of the Kurdish movement in Europe. Before assuming this new responsability, she had already been in charge of protecting the PKK’s interests abroad, in particular in Germany, in contact with the diaspora and in collaboration with Abdullah Öcallan while he was himself exiled in Syria.
During the night of January 9, 2013, Sakine Cansiz and two other female militants were murdered in Paris, near the Gare du Nord (a railway station) by an agent of the Turkish secret services (MIT) despite the police protection they were living under. Sakine was burried in Tunceli (Dersim in Kurmandji), her place of birth, marked by a history of bloodshed at the hands of the Turkish state : in 1937, a slaughter of the Kurds had been perpetrated by the Turkish army under orders by Kemal Attaturk, as part of a mission to « civilize » these populations, following which the city of Dersim was renamed Tunceli , which means « hand of bronze ». The Turkish state had decided to punish the Kurds for rebelling against its authority, and also because they helped many Armenians during the Armenian genocide. The city of Dersim, Sakine Cansiz’ final resting place, is also a shrine of the humanist Alevi culture, where men and women are nearly equals.
The women’s army
After she was released from jail, Sakine Cansiz created the Women’s Army, a decision approved by Abdullah Öcallan, as he fully supported the emergence of strong Kurdish women liberated from feudal male yoke. She got out in 1991, after 12 years of imprisonment and torture, which did not alter her determination. Once freed, she resumed clandestine militant activity and armed struggle to fight with the PKK against the Turk’s razing of villages and arbitrary arrests in the South East of Turkey. She also took part in a conference initiated by Abdullah Öcallan in a trainin camp in the Bekaa area in Lebanon.
Thanks to her aura and charisma, she continued to stir up the Kurds to revolt as well as to create women strategic units, since the number of women taking part in the Kurdish rebellion was very high. Abdullah Öcallan acknowledged her outstanding leadership qualities within his marxist movement, as well as her major role in the Kurdistan Liberation movement. During an official reunion, he introduced her as a person « more courageous and even more ambitious than him ». Öcallan supported Sakine Cansiz’ feminist positions and claimed that « killing the dominant male » is a founding principle of socialism. The Kurdish army was created in 1992, a year after Cansiz’ release.
As a member of the Kurdistan National Congress, she continued to fight for the liberation of Kurdish women in Europe : throughout the 90s, she supported a feminist education for Kurdish women and their participation in the armed strugle, which was a major innovation. These women were constantly on the frontline during the insurrections and the demonstrations against the military operations of the Turkish state. Moreover, Kurdish female soldiers were also involved many times in assistance to refugees, as well as in education, health, psychological support, logistics and the defense of military zones. As such, they played a key role in the armed resistance while at the same time being engaged in the information war, drafting multilingual press releases, granting interviews, developping international solidarity networks, keeping in touch with and lobbying the diaspora. Abdullah thought rightly that the way to peace for the Kurds was through women.
The « women’s army » eventually led to a women only military staff in 1999 and to women gaining decisional powers within the revolutionary movement, because they played a major role in the armed struggle. Sakine Cansiz launched Women Defense Units with their own female commanders, and Gülnaz Karatas Beritan is one of the first officers of these women only units, known for fighting until her last ammunition against Turkish forces, breaking her kalachnikov (for fear it would be taken by the ennemy) and jumping off a cliff because she refused to be captured. The Kurdish army is the only one in the world to have exclusively female units and lately these units have won major victories against Daesh without any support from the international community, at least initially. Moreover, Nasrine Abdallah, the commander who has liberated Kobané, claimed that her all female units had a special psychological impact on islamist fighters because they fear not going to heaven if they are killed by female soldiers—seen as impure and inferior. Kurdish women have refused to stay home and have chosen to join the « women’s army » for the last twenty years, following a long tradition of women occupying positions of military leadership in Kurdish history.
These women have fought on the frontlines alongside their male peers with equal distinction and they represent up to 50% of the Kurdish troops engaged in different combat zones. In Syria in particular, they have joined the People’s Defense Units (YPG) who support the Kurdish armed forces. there, they were responsible for the protection of their male comrades and refused to be treated any differently. The military setbacks inflicted on Daesh by the Kurdish female officers in Kobané, or by their enforcement of a « democratic autonomy » in Rojava, are attracting attention to their cause, and their leading role in this movement is seen as an indication of major social changes. They are the embodiment of everything which is hated by radical islam : women’s liberation, freedom, equality and acceptance of homosexuality. The Women’s Protection Units » (Yekineyên Parastina Jiné, YPG) fight also against patriarchal violence, such as forced marriages, polygamy, rapes and sexual mutilations, and don’t hesitate to denounce these violences within the Kurdish movement ; their struggle is not just military but ideological as well : these women soldiers are fighting against everything they see as a threat to their rights, as women and as members of the Kurdish people, and they are full fledged peshmergas because they risk their lives everyday.
The military training of female soldiers in the « women’s army » included learning « jineology », the knowledge of relations of power in patriarchy, developped and shared by women for women because « a method of research that ignores women’s reality and does not not place them at the center will never allow for the development of an authentic struggle for freedom and equality. » The Kurdish prefix « jin » meaning « woman », in greek jiyan », means life, and « logos » refers to science as it’s linked to reason and discourse. It’s about women writing their own history outside patriarchal boundaries, speaking freely and creating a space for analyzing and exchanging on male violence in a female only context, without interferences from institutions, the Turkish State and financial donors. And the « Women’s Academies », which were created and managed by women, were the vehicle for the transmission of this knowledge and for the organisation of collective projects based on it. It was a space where women could read and think about feminist texts from different sources, but were keen on developping their own political anti-capitalist view of the relationships between men and women and refused certain forms of western intellectual hegemony which could, according to them, see Middle Eastern women as « backward » or unable to elaborate a political consciousness. Kurdish women soldiers were supposed to know how to handle weapons but they were also supposed to shape their own political analysis. As Abdullah Öcalan underlined previously, « a society can be free only if women are free ».
Sakine Cansiz also commanded units including both sexes, where men underwent a drastic selection, part of which was to explain their motivation in a kind of declaration of intent and trying to convince the leaders of the sincerity of their motivation for receiving a universalist feminist education. The media visibility of these women might have hidden their ambitious project of women’s emancipation where women were incited to meet, help eachother and unite to create a dynamic against the patriachal system, capitalism and state control, without making any distinction between the public sphere and the private : a feminist revolution !
The murder of Sakine Cansiz : a French-Turkish affair of State
Sakine Cansiz fought courageously on all fronts for the independence of the Kurdish people, who meet all the crIterion justifying the autonomy of Kurdistan : estabIished territory, history, language, culture. Kurdistan is a sort of territory without borders and the outcome of a complex history of insurrections, slaughters and political betrayals, as much by Western powers after WWII as under the rule of the Ottoman empire. Kurds are spread in four countries, Turkey (about 40%°), Iraq (15%), Iran 25% and Syria (5 to 10%). One must note that these countries are not exactly well known for their respect of human rights or minorities. The Kurds are sometimes presented as a fragmented people, but they are demographically important in the Middle East (the total population is 35 millions). Due to their oil resources, they are also important economically as well as geopolitically and culturally (arabisation) and live in an area as big as France, without taking into account the diaspora. In the context of the war against terrorism in Syria, their valliant struggle against Daesh’s obscurantism has given them visibility on the international scene.
Sakine Cansiz, co-founder of the PKK (Workers’ Party of Kurdistan), Fidan Dogan, representative of the KNK (National Congress of Kurdistan), and the militant Leyla Soylemez were cold-bloodedly executed, shot in the neck by the MTI (Turkey’s Secret Service). This took place at the Kurdish computer office in the 10th district of Paris. Of course, Sakine Cansiz was a prime target for the Turkish authorities, she had to be killed because not only she fought ardently for the autonomy of Kurdistan but she was leading a secular movement for women’s emancipation which was strongly disliked by the Turks as well as by radical islamists in the area. These three women were seen as a major problem because they fought for the recognition of the fundamental rights of the Kurdish people and were revealing the Human rights violations perpetrated against the Kurds in Turkey. However, their ultimate goal was peace and a peaceful resolution of the Kurdish question, in particular through their support for talks between the Turkish government and the PKK.
So Sakine Cansiz (member of the leadership of the PKK), Fidan Dogan (lobbyist for the PKK) and Leyla Soylemez (representative of the Youth movement of the party), were shot down on wednesday January 9, 2013, just a few days after the opening of negociations between Ankara and Abdullah Öcallan—who is still jailed on Imrah island, being apparently the only prisoner there. The context obviously points to a « politcal assassination » at a time when negociations were taking place in Turkey. The goal of these negociations between Ankara and the PKK was to reach a political solution to the Kurdish conflict, so as to put an end to the armed struggle that has lasted more than 30 years, killed more than 40 000 people, displaced hundreds of thousands refugees and filled Turkish jails with countless political prisoners.
The femicide of these three Kurdish women has turned into a true affair of State since it took place on French soil at a time when Turkey had resumed (at the end of 2012) the dialogue with the PKK, through direct negociations with Abdullah Öcalan, the disarmament of the PKK, being a major stake for Turkey. These political assassinations are obviously a way to shoot down the negociations with Ankara through a new show of force so as to tip the balance in favor of Turkey and destabilize the Kurds. However, in January 2014, the Turkish Secret services have denied any involvement in this affair after the broadcast of a taped conversation naming potential targets of Kurdish guerrillas by Turkish media. This conversation took place between two agents of the MIT and a man identified as Omer Güney, who is the only suspect in this affair of State. Omer Güney managed to infiltrate the PPK by resorting to an entrist strategy : he joined Kurdish associations and offered his services as interpreter in German and French, and was finally appointed as Sakine Cansiz’ chauffeur and bodyguard. Following the murders, he was rapidly placed under arrest for having perpetrated murders in relation to terrorist activities. The investigation established that the murderer is indeed Gurney and that he has links with an extreme right Turkish political movement called the Grey Wolves, ultranationalist and very hostile to the Kurds. The Grey Wolves were initially the emblem of the Youth section of the Nationalist Action Party (MHP in Turkish), they have a sign of recognition, a gesture made with the hands in the shape of a wolf’s head, and they are well known for their violent attacks against communists.
The hypothesis of the implication of the Turkish Secret services in these murders is confirmed by the existence of several evidential elements, such a sound tape, traces of powder in a satchel found in Guney’s car (the same as the one seen in video surveillance images), the phone records of the suspect proving that he had regular contacts with the MIT, the publication on the internet, one year after the murders , of an official document mentioning clearly that the murderer acted on orders from the MIT after receiving a mission order. In this affair, the indictement drafted by the prosecution indicates that many elements of the investigation are pointing towards MIT’s involvement in the planning and organization of these murders. And the lack of political willpower from Turkish and French authorities to shed light on these murders is obvious.
In Turkey under Erdogan, who sees himself as the new « sultan », an investigation has been opened, but despite international letters rogatory, no information has been shared with French justice. The French government has refused to declassify info that could further the judiciary investigation and the judges in charge of the prosecution had to close the case—without having been able to reach the people who ordered the murders, despite the fact they have been identified. On the other hand, the former French minister of the Interior, Claude Guéant, has said in an interview on itélé, that he is « almost sure that Turkish Secret services are not involved ». In 2011, Claude Guéant signed with the Turkish government a cooperation agreement to fight terrorism (essentially an exchange of information with the Turkish police), continued under Jean-Marc Ayrault, ex-Prime Minister, who even drafted a bill about it. But we should keep in mind that, for the Turkish authorities, any member of the Kurdish community is a potential terrorist.
The Party of Justice and Development (AKP) led by Recep Tayyip Erdogan is an islamo-conservative party undermined by corruption. It’s openly reactionnary, antifeminist, antigay, antisemitic and hostile to Kemalist secularism, while promoting the obligation of the veil for women under the argument of « religious freedom ». Of course, Erdogan, who has a talent for catchy slogans, has declared himself a « conservative democrat » and a « muslim democrat ».
Shortly after the takeover of Turkey by the Party of Justice and Development (AKP), the NGO « Reporters without Borders » described Turkey as « the biggest prison in the world for journalists» and other NGOs confirmed that the Turkish government was getting more and more authoritarian. Feminist associations even accuse Erdogan to encourage femicides and/or trivialize the scourge of domestic violence. In his speech of August 12, 2005 in Dyarbakir, the Turkish president promised to deal with the Kurdish question in a more democratic way, or more conform to international law : « the Kurdish problem is not the problem of some of our people, it’s everybody’s problem. It’s also mine. We are going to settle each problem with even more democracy, even more civil rights and prosperity, in total respect for our constitutional order and the republican principles bequeathed by our founding fathers ». Turkey still wants to join the European Union so it pretends to be engaged in a democratic process –but with radical islam at the wheel.
The Kurds are playing a major role in the fight against Daesh, which is obviously not the case for Turkey, at least based on the positions taken by the Turkish president, who has been elected to this position in 2014 (after having been Prime minister from 2003 to 2014). During his mandate as Prime minister, Erdogan did not hesitate to support publicly an internal coup within the PKK, or the sabotaging of the negociations related to the murders of the three Kurdish militants, all the while portraying himself as a victim ; and of course, the AKP would have prefered to obtain the disarmament of the Kurdish rebellion before the presidential elections. In a press release published on their site, the Kurdistan Information Center in Paris categorically denied this version, claiming it was « a political assassination conducted in a very professional manner » and paid hommage to Sakine Cansiz for having left her mark on « the women’s army ».
The French president François Hollande has refused so far to speak about this issue, and is giving in to realpolitik by keeping tight diplomatic relations with Turkey, despite the fact that these political assassinations were perpetrated on French territory. His obvious allegiance to neo-liberalism leads him to sign juicy contracts with Turkey (12 billions Euros for Airbus, 15 billions Euros for GDF Suez), barely three months after the murder of the Kurdish militants—even as the French justice has underlined the links between the murderer and Turkey’s Secret services. France keeps mum, thus sending the message that Human Rights are not worth much compared to big financial transactions such as the sale of hundreds of planes and a handfull of nuclear plants. France doesn’t seem overly enthusiastic about asking questions to Turkey about those crimes committed in its very capital. Despite the fact that these murders left the Kurdish community deeply shocked, the families of the victims were not even received by François Hollande, so the Kurdish associations are commenting sarcastically on the passivity of the French president and his ambiguous declarations.
« Sara » led a double struggle : against patriarchy and for the equality of the sexes, and against Turkish repression, so the Kurds can have democratic autonomy. Kurdish feminists insist on the necessity to have independent/women only political, military and social structures, so as to defend women’s rights and freedom in a more efficient manner. The Kurdish women fighters underline that celebrating them only as Daesh’s ennemy is counter-productive if the political and feminist dimension of their fight is not taken into account in the context of a historical tradition of Kurdish resistance. « Jineology » includes a feminist vision but it also covers a description and study of the evolution of women’s status in different cultures. Kurdish women have implementd this theory by instituting a democratic and sustainable system in Rojava based on the principles of co-management by both sexes as well as « confederalism » as political model.
The murder of Sakine Cansiz is commemorated each year by millions of Kurds coming from all corners of Europe to lay a wreath at the location of the crime.