Mystery abounds after three Kurdish woman are killed execution style behind a locked door in Paris as the PM points to an intra-pay off or a provocation
Three women, including a co-founder of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), were found dead with gunshot wounds yesterday in central Paris, raising questions about the perpetrators as Turkey and the PKK’s jailed leader launch fresh talks to settle the Kurdish issue.
Sakine Cansız, who helped found the PKK in 1978 and who was said to be close to PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan; Brussels-based Kurdistan National Congress’ (KNK) Paris representative Fidan Doğan and Leyla Söylemez, a Kurdish activist, were found dead in the office. French police suspect the three were killed execution-style.
French Interior Minister Manuel Valls told reporters outside the murder scene that the three women had been “without any doubt executed” and described the killings as “totally unacceptable.”
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said the attack could be a provocation attempt.
“We should first wait for the result of the investigation,” Erdoğan told a press conference in Dakar, his last stop on a three-day Africa tour. “There are [forces] who don’t want a solution. This attack could be an attempted provocation.”
Erdoğan urged all parties to wait until French officials bring light to the case. “To make a premature judgment would be an error. It could be an internal feud. Apart from that, we are currently carrying on a fight against terrorism. We want progress, and there are those who don’t accept it,” said Erdoğan, adding that Turkey would pursue its “goodwill steps in fighting terrorism until it gets results.”
Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç expressed “his sadness” over the killings. The motive raised a lot of questions, according to Arınç, who told reporters in Ankara: “No matter what crimes [they have allegedly committed], this is a very bad development.”
The co-leaders of the Peace and Democratic Party (BDP), Gülten Kışanak and Selahattin Demirtaş, also strongly condemned the killings. In an official statement, the BDP leaders announced that they would travel to Paris to speak with French authorities about the issue and attend funeral ceremonies for the victims.
The women were alone in the office at noon Jan. 9, the Paris-based Kurdish Association Federation representative Leon Edart said, French daily Le Parisien reported. “They might have opened the door to their assassins,” Edart said, adding that 32-year-old Doğan worked at the information center. Their bodies were discovered early yesterday when someone tried unsuccessfully to contact them and people broke through the door after seeing bloodstains on it, discovering the bodies.
Cansız and Doğan were killed by a bullet fired through the neck up into the head, while Söylemez had injuries in the abdomen and forehead. Kurdish associations suggested that the perpetrators had fired with a silencer.
Zübeyir Aydar, known as the head of the European branch of the PKK, implied that “dark forces” linked with the Turkish deep state might be behind the killings. Speaking to the Kurdish website Rudaw, Aydar said: “The attacks are perpetrated against the talks [with Öcalan] on İmralı island. This attack was aimed against the new process.”
In an attempt to disarm the PKK, Turkish government dispatched National Intelligence Agency (MİT) chief Hakan Fidan for talks with Öcalan.
Cansız, an Alevi from Tunceli with the codename “Sara,” was thought to be in charge of the PKK’s Germany branch and was reported to be very trusted by Murat Karayılan, the de facto leader of the organization.
Doğan, a leading member of the KNK, which is close to the PKK’s European activities, was known to many in the community through her work, said Valls.