Bridge in Italy named after Hevrin Khalaf

A bridge over the river Rivi Freddi in the Italian city of Berceto was named after Hevrin Khalaf. The Kurdish politician was murdered by Turkish-backed jihadists in October 2019.

In the Italian city of Berceto, a bridge has been named after the Kurdish politician Hevrin Khalaf (also Hevrîn Xelef). The naming is to be understood as an "act of solidarity", said Luigi Lucchi, mayor of the commune in Emilia-Romagna, which lies south-west of Parma. The Kurdish people continue their struggle for peace and democracy despite great suffering and several massacres. It is only too human to pay tribute to this resistance, Lucchi said.

Hevrin Khalaf was General Secretary of the Syrian Future Party (Hizbul Suri Mustakbel), which is led by a grassroots democratic principle of initiative, and was a beacon of hope for a diverse, democratic Syria. On October 12, 2019, the 34-year-old female politician was murdered together with her driver near Qamishlo during the Turkish war of aggression against northern Syria. Members of the so-called "Battalion 123" of the jihadist militia "Ahrar al-Sharqiya", a group involved in the invasion under the umbrella of the Proxy Invasion Corps SNA ("Syrian National Army") founded by Turkey, dragged Khalaf from her car and mutilated her body before she was killed. According to the autopsy report, the politician's body showed numerous injuries, including many gunshot wounds, fractures to her legs, face and skull. Her scalp was partially detached due to hair pulling.    

As part of the naming ceremony for the bridge over the Rivi Freddi River, two signs with a photo of Hevrin Khalaf were placed at the bridge entrances. The inscription in Italian reads: "She fought for women's rights and died because of our betrayal". Among those present at the event were the politician Paola Gazzolo, member of the regional parliament, activist Nelly Bocchi from the "Solidarity Network with Kurdistan" and Serkan Xozatli from the Italian Kurdistan Committee. In their speeches, they expressed their satisfaction that the Berceto Council has decided to commemorate Hevrin Khalaf and her work in this way.

In the district of Ghiare in Berceto there is a railway station on the line from Parma to La Spezia. It was renamed last year after YPG fighter Lorenzo Orsetti [Orso]. The 33-year-old internationalist from Florence, whom many people know under his Nom de Guerre Têkoşer Piling, died on March 18, 2019 as a volunteer in the final assault by Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) on the last ISIS bastion al-Baghouz in Deir ez-Zor, Eastern Syria. But it is not only because the station is named after Orsetti that Berceto has come into the sights of the Turkish state: On October 5, 2019 imprisoned Kurdish leader Abdullah Öcalan was awarded honorary citizenship of the Italian community. Berceto is only one of twelve communes in Italy that took this step. Öcalan was most recently made an honorary citizen in Fossalto at the beginning of the year. As expected, the Turkish government reacted harshly, expressing its expectation that Italian authorities would regard this as "collaboration with the PKK". However, the concerned communes remained unimpressed.