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Turkey PM demands that France clarify killing of three Kurds

January 12, 2013

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. - AFP Photo
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. - AFP Photo

ANKARA: Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan called on France on Saturday to “immediately” clarify the killing of three Kurdish activists who were shot dead in Paris, while asking French President Francois Hollande to explain why he was meeting with members of the outlawed PKK.

“France must immediately clarify this incident,” Erdogan said in televised remarks.

“Also, the French head of state must explain immediately to the French, Turkish and world public why...he is in communication with these terrorists,” he added.

Hollande had said the murder of Sakine Cansiz, Fidan Dogan and Leyla Soylemez was “terrible”, adding that he knew one of the Kurdish women and that she “regularly met us”.

The three were found dead on Thursday at the Kurdistan Information Centre in the French capital's 10th district, after last being seen alive at the centre at midday on Wednesday.

Cansiz was a founding member of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which took up arms in 1984 for Kurdish self-rule in southeastern Turkey and is branded a terrorist organisation by Ankara and much of the international community.

The separatist PKK warned that it would hold France responsible if the killers were not quickly found, as Ankara said the slayings bore the hallmarks of an internal feud, noting that the victims appeared to have given access to the centre to the killer(s).

The killings came days after Turkish media reported Turkey and the PKK leadership had agreed a roadmap to end the three-decade old Kurdish insurgency that has claimed more than 45,000 lives.