News / Europe

Debate Roils in Turkey Over Responsibility for Paris Triple-Homicide

Funeral of three Kurdish activists shot in Paris, Diyarbakir, Turkey, Jan. 17, 2013.
Funeral of three Kurdish activists shot in Paris, Diyarbakir, Turkey, Jan. 17, 2013.
Dorian Jones
As the French investigation into the killing of the three Kurdish activists in Paris continues, debate is roiling in Turkey over who was responsible.
 
While some Kurds claim rogue elements of the Turkish state are behind the slayings, Turkish officials blame the slaying on a feud within ranks of the Kurdish rebel Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), while other observers are speculate on the involvement of Iranian and Syrian elements.
 
"This massacre could have been stopped, but it wasn't," said Gultan Kisanak, co-leader of the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party.
 
"Ankara bears a large share of the responsibility for the mysterious murder of three Kurdish women politicians," she said, blaming Turkish so-called "deep state" actors -- rogue elements of the state with strong nationalist tendencies that are often blamed for conspiracies against the present government and pro-Kurdish movement.
 
But accusations of state involvement have been strongly denied by Turkish officials, and Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said late last week that the execution-style killings appear to be the result of an internal feud over recently announced talks between Ankara and Abdullah Ocalan, PKK's imprisoned PKK.
 
According to news reports, Ankara and PKK representatives have recently agreed on a framework for a peace plan, which would involve increasing Kurdish minority rights in exchange for disarmament of militants.
 
If internal feuding motivated the killings, says political scientist Cengiz Aktar of Bahcesehir University, it wouldn't be entirely unprecedented.
 
"My feeling is it looks like an internal affair of Kurdish circles in France, and it's not the first time," he said. "I hope the negotiators and politicians have drawn lessons from previous initiatives, which failed."
 
But some observers insist the deep state conspiracy isn't entirely off-point. Turkish-nationalist militants have a history of killing Kurdish activists seeking regional autonomy, even if such incidents were confined to Turkish soil.
 
Semih Idiz, diplomatic columnist for the Turkish daily Taraf, is looking to state actors in neighboring countries.
 
"It is known that Turkey has a problem with [Syria and Iran] at the moment," he says, pointing not only to the ongoing crisis in Syria, but Ankara's behind-the-scenes peace negotiations with PKK.
 
Prematurely announcing the existence of the behind-closed-doors talks, he says, has left Ankara vulnerable.
 
"By going open, all open, about meeting with the PKK, it provides an opportunity for outside forces and elements or countries to try intervene if it's in their interests," says Idiz.
 
In recent months, Ankara has accused both Tehran and Damascus of providing support for PKK in retaliation for Turkey's support of Syrian rebels. Both Iran and Syria have denied such allegations.
 
International relations expert Soli Ozel of Istanbul's Kadir Has University says throughout the three-decade conflict between the PKK and Turkish state, the country's neighbors periodically have used the PKK to apply pressure on Ankara.
 
"The regional context of the Kurdish problem is what complicates the politics of the Kurdish issue in Turkey," he says.
 
For now, both sides have committed themselves to continuing talks, but analysts warn that, with the political and diplomatic stakes so high, there may be further attempts to disrupt peace efforts.

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Srebrenica Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs countermeasure at UN More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prisoni
X
Heather Murdock
July 01, 2015 8:59 PM
As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs