Did "Deep State" order Kurdish women's murder?
WERE three Kurdish women murdered in Paris victims of a rogue Turkish state organisation out to sabotage peace talks with the Kurds and possibly bring down the Turkish government itself?
Sakine Cansiz, 55, a founder member of the Kurdistan Workers party (PKK) living in Europe; Fidan Dogan, 28, president of a Kurdish lobby group, based in Strasbourg; and Leyla Soylemez, a young Kurdish activist, living in Germany, were killed on Wednesday, . None of the three women lived full time in Paris, but were visiting a Kurdish information centre near the Gare du Nord when they were killed.
It was reported yesterday that each of them had been shot several times in the head, which suggests a professional killer. They had their outdoor coats on, indicating they had either just entered the building or were about to leave. This also counters suggestions that they must have opened the door to their killer or that the assassin had to know the door entry code to gain access. It is possible they had been followed and/or that the killer was waiting for them to leave.
It has echoes of the murder in 1976 of Egyptian communist Henri Curiel at his home in Paris. Curiel, who was under secret state surveillance at the time, was about to step from the lift on his way out when gunmen who had entered the foyer. No one was ever caught for this murder.
The three Kurdish women were murdered on the same day that the Turkish press reported the government had reached an outline agreement with the imprisoned PKK leader, Abdullah Ocalan, to end the 30 years old conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in the south east of the country, which has cost an estimated 40,000 lives.
Kurdish leaders have rejected suggestions from either French or Turkish sources that the killing was the result of an “internal split” among Kurdish militants. They blame the “deep state”, as both they and Turkish leaders have called it, a network of Turkish officials and senior army officers who distrust the elected government and are opposed to any concessions to minorities or form of Kurdish autonomy.
Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has himself referred to this "deep state" before, and whether it would allow him to govern. But Erdogan has been casting around this past week, claiming the murder in Paris must be part of a struggle among Kurds, and making diversionary accusations.
Complaining that France's President Francois Hollande had spoken with Sakine Cansiz, Erdogan said that Cansiz, one of the foundrts of the PKK, had been placed in custody in Germany in 2007, but was released soon after."We notified French Interpol just two months ago," Erdogan said. "France didn't do anything about it. The French head of state must explain why he was seeing these terrorists,"
But reports in the Turkish press say Cansiz was in favour of the PKK ending its armed struggle, and had been involved in negotiations in Oslo between the Turkish state and the PKK. She reportedly met with members of the Turkish National Intelligence Organization (MİT) in recent months.
According to the conservative daily Yeni Safak it was Sakine Cansaz's job to communicate to factions in European countries once she received information from Abdullah Ocalan.
The French police were initially reported investigating the possibility that the attack was a robbery or a dispute about money. There are reportedly a number of investigations into political fundraising from Kurds in France. But the women's handbags had not been touched.Police found a neatly packed suitcase in offices of the Kurdish Information Centre, which is on the first floor of a residential building in the Rue Lafayette..
After it was revealed that the women had been shot several times in the head, and that the gunman had used a silencer, the view was strengthened that this was a professional killing. French Interior Minister Manuel Valls said the slayings were "without doubt an execution."
Those who suspect this was the work of conspirators within the Turkish state remembered the murder of newspaper editor Hrant Dink on 19 January 2007 outside the office of his journal Agos. Dink was an ethnic Armenian, and had campaigned for recognition of the 1915 masacre of Armenians in Turkey. A juvenile killer Ogün Samast was arrested, but many people refused to believe he acted alone, or without encouragement. A video clip was released showing him posing with two police officers. A suspect accused of helping Samast was linked to right-wing nationalists, and had been a staff member of the Gendarmerie intelligence service, JITEM.
Some 20,000 people marched through Istanbul last year on the fifth anniversary of Hrant Dink's murder, both to honour the murdered journalist and demand that the authorities conduct a full investigation into those behind the murder.
Hundreds of Kurds have been demonstrating outside Turkish embassies in Paris and London over the murder of the three Kurdish women. Joining demonstrators in London on Friday, I ventured to one of the organisers that it was difficult to know exactly who might be behind this killing. "It is difficult," he agreed. "But we know the Turkish prime minister himself was talking recently about the 'deep state', and whether they would let him govern. We think it is the 'Turkish Gladio'" (a reference to the right-wing secret armies established in NATO countries during Cold War years). France is a funny country...We know there were also Turkish threats against the Armenians there".