Turkey was behind Paris murders of Kurds, ex-military intel chief signals

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Turkey was behind the killing of three female Kurdish activists in Paris in 2013, retired General İsmail Hakkı Pekin, the former head of a Turkish military intelligence unit, signalled in comments made on CNN Türk television this week.

The three women, who included Sakine Cansız, a co-founder of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), were shot in the head execution-style at a Kurdish information centre in Paris on Jan. 9, 2013. Kurdish activists Leyla Söylemez and Fidan Doğan were also killed.

“Something needs to be done about the (PKK) elements in Europe. It has been done previously in Paris. But…” Pekin said, in comments to CNN Türk, published by pro-Kurdish journalist Meltem Oktay.

Pekin led the intelligence unit attached to the military’s General Staff between 2007 and 2011.

Ömer Güney, a maintenance worker at Paris Charles de Gaulle airport, was the only suspect held over the murders. Security camera footage showed him in the building at the time. A few months later, an audio recording between Güney and suspected National Intelligence Agency (MIT) agents was released on the Internet.

Güney died in December 2016 from a brain tumour, after which France dropped all legal proceedings. In 2019, French prosecutors re-opened the probe. Jean-Louis Malterre, a lawyer representing the victims, told the pro-Kurdish Fırat News Agency at the time that the new inquiry would investigate MIT’s possible role in the murders.

MIT has denied ordering the killings, instead suggesting that they were related to internal disputes within the PKK. The group has fought for Kurdish autonomy from Turkey for more than three decades. It is labelled as a terrorist organisation by the United States and the European Union.

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