Three Kurdish activists killed in Paris
Three Kurdish women, members of the militant Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) were shot dead Tuesday evening in Paris in an execution-style killing.
The brutal attack took place in an office of the Kurdistan information centre in the 10th arondissement, an area close to Gare du Nord where several Kurd political refugees live.
The women were last seen alive on Wednesday afternoon but their bodies were discovered hours later at 2 am, when a friend of one of them went to the office and broke down the door after seeing blood stains at the entrance.
One of the victims was Sakine Cansiz, a founding member of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, close to Abdullah Ocalan. She was a political refugee in France since 1989 after being detained and tortured in Turkey for great part of the 80s. Cansiz was also the first senior female member of the organisation. The second victim was Fidan Dogan, 32, a representative in France of the Brussels-based Kurdish National Congress. The third woman, Leyla Soylemez, was a guest.
Yesterday, soon after midday, over 200 Kurdish protesters met outside the Kurdish centre with flags of Öcalan, shouting: “We are all the PKK.”
A 25-year-old protester said: “The community is in shock. We all knew these women. There are so many Kurdish political refugees in France. If we can’t feel safe here where can we feel safe?”
France and Turkey both condemned the killings and France interior minister, Manuel Valls, ordered an inquiry by anti-terror police.
However, the reasons behind the shootings are still unclear.
During this 25-year conflict between the Turkish state and the PKK over 40,000 people died.
According to Kurdish groups in Turkey the murders might be an attempt to sabotage the peace talks between the Turkish state and PKK’s leader Abdullah Ocalan, with the aim of persuading the group to disarm.
Ihsan Kaçar, head of the Istanbul Human Rights Association, said: “I was very hopeful about the talks with Öcalan, but after reading about the killings in Paris, these hopes have been shattered.”
Foreign correspondents in Turkey, like the BBC’s James Reynolds, confirmed that there are two different theories about the shootings.
Hussein Celik, deputy chairman of AKP (the ruling party) said that the killings were a result of an internal Kurdish feud.
However, according to Kurdish activists, the shootings were part of a plan organised by Turkish state forces to derail the peace talks.
In Turkey, many believe the existence of a “deep-state”, an extremely powerful and well-connected nationalistic establishment, aimed at undermining the work of democratic governments.
Tuesday’s killings will make the current negotiations even more difficult and tense, no matter who was behind the attack.