• France's news in English

Three Kurdish women shot in the head in Paris

AFP · 10 Jan 2013, 14:14

Published: 10 Jan 2013 09:08 GMT+01:00
Updated: 10 Jan 2013 14:14 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

The women were found in the early hours with gunshot wounds to the head and neck inside a Kurdish information centre in the 10th district of the French capital, police and the centre's director said.

Interior Minister Manuel Valls visited the scene of the crime and described the killings as "assassinations".

"Three women have been shot down, killed, without doubt executed. This is a very serious incident, which is why I am here. It is completely unacceptable," he told reporters.

Experts on the Kurdish movement in France said the killings could be the result of internal feuding in the PKK, personal score-settling, the work of Turkish agents or even of Turkish far-right extremists.

Hundreds of Kurds gathered on Thursday in front of the centre to protest at the deaths, with some chanting "We are all PKK!" and "Turkey assassin, Hollande complicit", referring to French President Francois Hollande.

The murders came after Turkish media reported Wednesday that the Turkish government and jailed PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan had agreed on a roadmap to end a three-decade-old insurgency that has claimed around 45,000 lives.

The PKK, listed as a terrorist organisation by Turkey and by much of the international community, has been fighting for Kurdish autonomy or independence in south-eastern Turkey since 1984.

One of the dead in the Paris centre was Sakine Cansiz, a founding member of the PKK, the Federation of Kurdish Associations in France said in a statement.

A US embassy report from April 2007 revealed on the Wikileaks website said that "US and Turkish officials had identified Cansiz as a priority PKK leader to bring to justice".

She was arrested in Berlin the same year but released after the German courts refused to extradite her to Turkey.

The second slain woman in Paris was said to be 32-year-old Fidan Dogan, an employee of the centre, who was also the Paris representative of the Brussels-based Kurdistan National Congress.

The third was Leyla Soylemez, described by the federation as a "young activist".

The three were last seen alive midday on Wednesday at the centre on the first floor of a building on Rue Lafayette, according to the centre's director, Leon Edart.

Friends and colleagues who tried and failed to contact them eventually went to the centre and found traces of blood on the door, which they then forced open to find the three bodies inside around 1am Thursday, said Edart.

Two of the women were shot in the neck while the third had wounds to her forehead and stomach, the Kurdish federation said.

French anti-terror police have opened a probe into the murders, officials said.

There are around 150,000 Kurds in France, the vast majority of them of Turkish origin.

Story continues below…

French police in October detained a suspected European leader of the PKK and three other members of the group as part of a probe into terrorism financing and association with a terrorist group.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in September accused France and Germany of obstructing Ankara's fight against the PKK.

Erdogan's government recently revealed that Turkish intelligence services had for weeks been talking to Ocalan, who has been held on the island prison of Imrali south of Istanbul since his capture in 1999.

Under the reported peace roadmap, the government would reward a ceasefire by granting wider rights to Turkey's Kurdish minority, whose population is estimated at up to 15 million in the 75-million nation.

The rebels also reportedly want the release of hundreds of Kurdish activists and the recognition of Kurdish identity in Turkey's new constitution.

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
France given wake up call as it bids for Brexit business
The business district 'La Defense' in Paris. Photo: AFP

France clearly has some work to do if it really wants to pinch business from the UK post-Brexit.

Mouth fun? French words you just can't translate literally
Do you know the French word for throat-support? Photo: AFP

Word of warning: Don't translate French literally.

How France plans to help its stressed-out police force
Yellow smoke rises around French police officers in Paris holding a banner reading "Solidarity with our colleagues, police angry". All photos: AFP

Could these measures stop the cops from protesting?

'3,000 migrants dispersed' after 'Jungle' clearance
Photo: AFP

While thousands of migrants have been bussed out around France, new ones are arriving all the time and thousands of others have simply been dispersed aid agencies say.

Fifteen of the most bizarre laws in France
Photo: Matthew Powell/Flickr

A must read for anyone who wants to stay on the right side of the law in France.

Medieval town in south of France upholds ban on UFOs
The town of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Photo: Aa77zz/Flickr

Aliens take note.

American tourist dies at French Riviera sex club
The Riviera resort of Cannes. Photo: AFP

American tourist reportedly fell five floors after being pushed outside the underground sex club in Cannes.

Paris: 'Flying' water taxis to be tested on River Seine
Photo: SeaBubbles

An in Seine idea surely? But tests will go ahead.

France joins fight for rich pickings from post-Brexit UK
Photo: AFP/DcnH/Flickr

France tries to woo EU's bank regulator and other agencies.

How speaking French can really mess up your English
Photo: CollegeDegree360/Flickr

So you've mastered French, but now it's time to learn English all over again.

The annoying questions only a half French, half Brit can answer
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Forget Brangelina's chateau - here are nine others you've got to see
The must-see French films of the millennium - Part One
How life for expats in France has changed over the years
Why Toulouse is THE place to be in France right now
Video: New homage to Paris shows the 'real side' of city
The 'most dangerous' animals you can find in France
Swap London fogs for Paris frogs: France woos the Brits
Anger after presenter kisses woman's breasts on live TV
Is France finally set for a cold winter this year?
IN PICS: The story of the 'ghost Metro stations' of Paris
How to make France's 'most-loved' dish: Magret de Canard
Welcome to the flipside: 'I'm not living the dream in France'
Do the French really still eat frogs' legs?
French 'delicacies' foreigners really find hard to stomach
French are the 'world's most pessimistic' about the future
Why the French should not be gloomy about the future
This is the most useful French lesson you will ever have. How to get angry
Why is there a giant clitoris in a field in southern France?
French pastry wars: Pain au chocolat versus chocolatine
Countdown: The ten dishes the French love the most
Expats or immigrants in France: Is there a difference?
How the French reinvented dozens of English words
jobs available