The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Turkish PM: killing of 3 Kurdish activists in Paris seems like feud among Kurds

  • Print

PARIS - Turkey's prime minister suggested Friday that a feud among Kurdish rebels was behind the shooting deaths of three Kurdish activists in Paris, and the rebels said it was an attempt to undermine peace talks that their jailed leader is holding with Turkey.

The three activists, including reportedly the founding member of the autonomy-seeking Kurdish rebel group Kurdistan Workers Party, also known as PKK, were found inside a Kurdish centre in the French capital on Thursday. The killings stunned the Kurdish community in Europe and put France in a delicate position as it tries to improve ties with Turkey.

Kurds have accused Turkey of the slayings, while Turkish officials have suggested the killings may be part of an internal feud or an attempt to derail the talks.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Friday that the need for a code to enter the Kurdish centre where the women died, suggested that the women probably knew the killer. Erdogan indicated that the centre was locked from the inside.

"It's not something that people who don't know the code can open," Erdogan told a group of journalists aboard a plane on his return from a visit to Senegal. "Those three opened (the door). They wouldn't open the door to people they don't know."

A PKK statement, carried by the Kurdish Firat news agency, condemned the killings and said they were an "attempt to undermine" the talks between Turkey and Ocalan.

It blamed the deaths on "international powers" and alleged secretive forces in Turkey and added: "the killings will not remain without a response."

Turkey is holding peace talks with the Kurdistan Workers Party, which seeks self-rule for Kurds in the country's southeast, to try to persuade it to disarm. The conflict between PKK and the Turkish government has claimed tens of thousands of lives since 1984.

Agnes Thibault-Lecuivre, spokeswoman for the Paris prosecutor, said one of the women killed was "very, very probably" Sakine Cansiz, a founding member of the PKK in her 50s. The other two victims have been identified as Leyla Soylemez and Fidan Dogan, Kurdish activists in their 20s.

The three women were all killed with multiple gunshots to the head, Thibault-Lecuivre said. France's interior minister has called the slayings an "execution."

Family members of the victims came to Paris and were meeting with French authorities and members of the Kurdish community Friday. Visitors placed candles and flowers in front of the building housing the information centre where they were killed.

Mourner Selik Hick said he had known one of the victims, Cansiz. She "gave her life for freedom and for the freedom of the Kurdish people," Hick, 46, said at the site.

Turkey's state-run Anadolu Agency reported that the autopsies will take about a week, and that the families planned to take the bodies to Turkey for burial. It said police spoke with the Kurdistan Information Center's neighbours, but that no one had witnessed the attack.

Kurds from Germany and Turkey came to Paris to express support, and planned a demonstration in the French capital Saturday.


Suzan Fraser in Ankara, Turkey, contributed to this report.

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes


  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.


Make text: Larger | Smaller


Jets This Week: Crunching the playoff numbers

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Two baby tigers were unveiled at the Assiniboine Park Zoo this morning, October 3rd, 2011. (TREVOR HAGAN/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • STDUP ‚Äì Beautiful West End  begins it's summer of bloom with boulevard s, front yards  and even back lane gardens ,  coming alive with flowers , daisies and poppies  dress up a backyard lane on Camden St near Wolseley Ave  KEN GIGLIOTTI  / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS  /  June 26 2012

View More Gallery Photos


Do you agree with the decision by the Criminal Conviction Review Board to extend freedoms to Vince Li?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google