News / Middle East

3 Kurdish Activists Shot Dead in Paris

Women react inside the Kurdish cultural center in Paris, January 10, 2013.
Women react inside the Kurdish cultural center in Paris, January 10, 2013.
VOA News
French police say three Kurdish activists, including a founding member of the Kurdistan Workers' Party militant group, have been shot to death in Paris in what the French interior minister has termed an "assassination."
 
French Interior Minister Manuel Vals was greeted by protests from France's Kurdish community as he arrived at the Kurdish information center in central Paris, just hours after the killings.  He said he hopes a police inquiry will advance quickly.
 
The Kurdistan Workers Party ( PKK):

 
  • founded in 1974 by Abdullah Ocalan
  •  Marxist-Leninist separatist organization
  •  took up arms against Turkey in 1984; more than 40,000 people have been killed since
  •  most of the violence has been in Turkey's southeast
  •  listed as a terrorist group by Turkey, the US and EU
  •  has declared several short lived cease-fires
One of the victims was identified as Sakine Cansiz, one of the founding members of the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, a group fighting for greater Kurdish autonomy in Turkey since the 1980s.

One of the other two victims worked at the information center, and the third has been identified as a "young activist."

Motive speculation
 
The shootings come amid resumed talks between the PKK and the Turkish government, and there is speculation they were politically motivated.
 
The Associated Press quotes a senior member of Turkey's ruling party as blaming the killings on an internal feud in the PKK.
 
In an interview with VOA, Kendal Nezan, head of the Kurdish Institute in Paris -- which is separate from the information center - suggested the killings could be authored by those against the talks in Turkey.

The Victims

  • Sakine Cansiz - Founding member of the Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK
  • Fidan Dogan - Worked at the Information Center for Kurdistan, Paris representative of the Brussels-based Kurdistan National Congress
  • Leyla Soylemez - Kurdish activist working in Paris
"It's quite possible that some of those hardliners, including inside the Turkish military or… services… or maybe the hardliners within the PKK are not very happy with this event, so they might want to sabotage the peace process," Nezan said.

"But for us, it is too early to give any accurate indication. It's going to be the work of the French police to see who are the authors and how they acted," he said.
 
Between 150,000 and 200,000 Kurds live in France, mostly in the Paris area.

Among other issues, French justice officials have reportedly investigated allegations of extortion within the community - or so-called "revolutionary taxes" - on behalf of the PKK.
 
Kurdish activists and exiles gathered at the information center Thursday, expressing solidarity with the chant "We are all PKK!" They also chanted slogans accusing the Turkish government of killing the women and accusing French President Francois Hollande of complying.
 
The killings come on the heels of Turkish press reports saying jailed Kurdish rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan has reached an agreement with the Turkish government to end a 28-year Kurdish insurgency that has taken tens of thousands of lives in the country's southeast.

  • The body of one of three Kurdish women is taken out of the building where they were killed, Paris, France, January 10, 2013.
  • Portraits of presumed victims are seen pinned on a member of the Kurdish community's coat as they gather next to the entrance of the Information Centre of Kurdistan in Paris, France, January 10, 2013.
  • Kurdish people react as three bodies of the killed Kurdish women are taken out of a building in Paris, France, January 10, 2013.
  • Kurdish people gather in front of the building where three Kurdish women were killed in Paris, France, January 10, 2013.
  • Kurdish activists gather outside a building where three Kurdish women were shot dead, in Paris, France, January 10, 2013.

You May Like

Lebanese Media Unite to Support Palestinians in Gaza

Joint newscast billed as Arab world’s first unified news bulletin in support of Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip More

Photogallery Australian PM Alleges ‘Coverup’ at MH17 Crash Site

Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador to Malaysia denies plane's black boxes were opened before they were handed over to Malaysian officials More

Despite Advances in AIDS Treatment, Stigma Lingers

Leading immunologist tells VOA that stigma is often what prevents those infected with disease from seeking treatment More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid