Turkey sees Kurdish feud behind Paris slayings

  • Associated Press
  • January 11, 2013 - 5:37 AM

ANKARA, Turkey - Turkey's prime minister insisted Friday that the shooting deaths of three Kurdish activists in Paris are probably the result of a feud among Kurdish rebels, pointing out that a code was needed to enter the building where they died.

The three activists, including reportedly the founding member of the autonomy-seeking Kurdish rebel group, were found on Thursday, at a time when their jailed leader is holding peace talks with Turkey.

Kurds have accused Turkey of the slayings, while Turkish officials have suggested the killings may be part of an internal feud or an attempt to derail the talks.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Friday that the need for a code to enter the building suggests that either the women knew the killer, or that the killer had the code. Most buildings in Paris have a code to enter known by all residents and anyone else they give it to.

Turkey is holding peace talks with the Kurdistan Workers Party, which seeks self-rule for Kurds in the country's southeast, to try to persuade it to disarm. The conflict between the group, known as the PKK, and the Turkish government has claimed tens of thousands of lives since 1984.

Agnes Thibault-Lecuivre, spokeswoman for the Paris prosecutor, said one of the women killed was "very, very probably" Sakine Cansiz, a founding member of the PKK in her 50s. The other two victims have been identified as Leyla Soylemez and Fidan Dogan, Kurdish activists in their 20s.

The three women were all killed with multiple gunshots to the head, Thibault-Lecuivre said. France's interior minister has called the slayings an "execution."

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