France outraged by murder of Kurdish activists in Paris

Three women are found shot dead in Paris - was their killing politically motivated?

LAST UPDATED AT 10:25 ON Thu 10 Jan 2013

THREE female Kurdish activists shot dead overnight in the Information Centre of Kurdistan in Paris appear to be victims of targeted killings, but the exact motive for their murder is a mystery.

The women's bodies were found this morning when staff at the centre saw bloodstains under the door of the room where they are believed to have been killed. All of the dead women are Kurdish activists and one of them is believed to be Sakine Cansiz (pictured), a co-founder of the Kurdistan Workers' party (PKK), the militant separatist movement that has been fighting an armed battle against Turkey since 1984.

The three women were last seen on Wednesday at the centre, which was locked overnight, reports Al-Jazeera.

An employee of the Information Institute of Kurdistan told Reuters: "There is no doubt this was politically motivated". However, if the Turkish state was involved in any way, then the timing is odd.

As the BBC reports, the Turkish government announced only yesterday that it had brokered a deal with the PKK's imprisoned leader, Abdullah Ocalan, to create a "roadmap" to end the three-decade insurgency that has claimed the lives of an estimated 40,000 people.

France is outraged by the killings, which Interior Minister Manuel Valls called "intolerable".

The Firat news agency, which has links to the PKK, said two of the women were shot in the head and a third was shot in the stomach. Police have recovered three shell casings and it is believed the murder weapon was fitted with a silencer.

The head of the French Kurdish Associations Federation, Mehemet Ulker, told Firat his colleagues had seen "blood stains at the door" of the room where the women were killed. "When they broke the door open and entered they saw the three women had been executed," Ulker said. · 

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