Kurdish rebel group sees nationalist hand in Paris killings

Fri Jan 11, 2013 1:37pm EST
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By Ayla Jean Yackley

ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Kurdish rebels suggested on Friday that clandestine Turkish nationalists may have assassinated three Kurdish activists in Paris, but Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said the killings appeared to have been the result of an internal feud.

The Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) said the execution-style killings of the three women in an institute in central Paris had been premeditated and planned and warned France would be held responsible if it failed to get to the bottom of their deaths.

Sakine Cansiz, a founding member of the PKK, and two fellow activists were found shot in the head early on Thursday in an attack which shocked the Kurdish community and overshadowed peace moves between Turkey and the rebels.

Turkey put its missions in Europe - home to a large Kurdish diaspora - on alert and asked the French authorities to boost security around its interests there, after the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) called for protest meetings.

In Berlin, home to a large Kurdish and Turkish population, some 700 Kurds demonstrated in the streets, many carrying posters of the three women. One group carried a sign saying, "Women are murdered, Europe is silent."

About 200 people stood in sub-zero temperatures outside the French embassy in Stockholm chanting "Long Live the PKK" and "Turkey, Terrorists."

"The targeting of three of our female comrades at a time like this is a premeditated, planned and organized attack," said a statement on the website of the armed wing of the PKK, deemed a terrorist group by Ankara, Washington and the European Union.

"France has a responsibility to elucidate these killings immediately. Otherwise, they will be held responsible for the massacre of our comrades."   Continued...

A portait of late PKK activist Sakine Cansiz is seen at the Kurdish cultural centre in Paris, after three Kurdish women were found shot dead, January 10, 2013. Three female Kurdish activists including a founding member of the PKK rebel group were shot dead in Paris overnight in execution-style killings condemned by Turkish politicians trying to broker a peace deal. REUTERS/Charles Platiau