Skip to main content

Who Is Behind Paris PKK Murders?

Kadri Gursel speculates on whether the murders of three PKK activists in Paris might be linked to the recent peace initiative between Ankara and the PKK, and the "regionalization" of the Kurdish issue in Turkey, Syria and Iraq.
Flags, flowers and candles displayed by members of the Kurdish community are seen in front of the entrance of the Information Centre of Kurdistan in Paris, where three Kurdish women were found shot dead, January 11, 2013. Three female Kurdish activists including a founding member of the PKK rebel group were shot dead in Paris, January 10, 2013, in execution-style killings condemned by Turkish politicians trying to broker a peace deal. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann (FRANCE - Tags: POLITICS CRIME LAW)

What do the corpses of three Kurdish women activists of the PKK found killed with silenced weapons at the Kurdish Information Center of Paris in the early hours of Jan. 10 tell us?

The keys to an answer are actually in the question above. The identities of the victims reveal important points. Sakine Cansiz, said to be above 55 years of age, was an important figure inside the PKK. She was among the core that founded the PKK with Abdullah Ocalan. As such, she had a substantial and emblematic position in the history of the Kurdish movement. We are told that she spent 10 years in the Diyarbakir Prison, notorious for torture and ill treatment of Kurdish prisoners, following the 1980 military coup and that she had become one of the symbols of resistance in prison. Sakine Cansiz was a prominent name among politicized Kurdish women. With all her particulars and background, she won’t be simply forgotten by Kurdish nationalists.

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 per year.