Apparent Execution in Paris as 3 Kurd Activists Shot

One victim is top militant Sakine Cansiz

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted Jan 10, 2013 7:10 AM CST

(Newser) – Three Kurdish women were found dead at a Paris pro-Kurdish center early today, and France's interior minister is calling it an execution. The three activists were shot; local media reported they were shot in the head, but police would not confirm that, the AP reports. One of the victims is Sakine Cansiz, a co-founder of militant separatist group Kurdistan Workers Party or PKK. The other two victims are Fidan Dogan, who worked in the Kurdish Institute information center and was a Kurdistan National Congress representative, and activist Leyla Soylemez.

The three were last seen inside the building yesterday afternoon; police forced their way inside after a member of the Kurdish community found the doors locked, the BBC reports. "There is no doubt this was politically motivated," another employee of the institute says, according to Reuters. Turkey and the PKK have been in conflict since 1984, as the PKK demands autonomy for Kurds in Turkey, but talks recently started between Turkey and imprisoned PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan. A Turkish official says the murders appeared to be the result of "an internal feud" within the militant group.

Kurdish activists gather outside a building where three Kurdish women were shot dead, in Paris, Thursday, Jan. 10, 2013.
Kurdish activists gather outside a building where three Kurdish women were shot dead, in Paris, Thursday, Jan. 10, 2013.   (AP Photo/Jacques Brinon)
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