Erdogan: Kurdish Slayings Stem from Internal Dispute

Posted January 11th, 2013 at 4:30 am (UTC-5)
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Turkey's prime minister says the killings of three Kurdish activists in Paris may have been the result of an internal feud.

The bodies of the three women — one of them a founding member of a Kurdish group fighting for greater autonomy in Turkey — were found inside a Kurdish information center in Paris Thursday.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the lock on the door of the center could only be opened from the inside and the women would not have opened the door to someone they did not know.

Kurdish protesters have accused the Turkish government of orchestrating the attacks.

French police said that the bodies of three women were found with bullet wounds in the early morning hours Thursday. They identified one of the victims as Sakine Cansiz, a founding member of the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK. An investigation is underway.

The deaths come as talks to end the 28-year Kurdish insurgency are reported to be in the beginning stages between the Turkish government and jailed rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan.

The second woman killed in Paris was 32-year-old Frida Dogan, an employee at the information center and the Paris representative of the Brussels-based Kurdistan National Congress. The third victim was Leyla Soylemez who has been described as a “young activist.” Police say they have opened a murder investigation.

French Interior Minister Manuel Valls visited the scene of the crime Thursday and called the attack an assassination.

“I came here, to this neighborhood where three women were slain, killed, doubtless executed. This is a very grave matter and this explains my presence. This is unacceptable. The investigation is only starting under the authority of the prosecutor's office and the anti-terrorist forces are involved to shed all possible light on this unacceptable act.”

Kurdish protesters gathered at the scene Thursday, chanting slogans accusing the Turkish government of killing the women and accusing French President Francois Hollande of complying.