Three Kurdish women, including a founding member of a leading militant group fighting for autonomy in Turkey, were shot to death at a Kurdish institute in central Paris, police officials said on Thursday, potentially jeopardizing fragile efforts to negotiate a ceasefire in the decades-old conflict.
News reports identified one of the women as Sakine Cansiz, a founder of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, known by the initials PKK. Another was identified as Fidan Dogan, head of the institute and a representative of the Kurdistan National Committee. The third woman was Leyla Soylemez, a youthful Kurdish activist.
The women’s bodies were discovered shortly before 2 am on Thursday, according to Agnès Thibault-Lecuivre, a spokeswoman for the Paris prosecutor’s office, and the anti-terror department of the prosecutor’s office will oversee the investigation.
Earlier, a police official said the circumstances of the killings “could lead to the conclusion that this was an execution but inquiries will determine the precise nature of this drama”. Visiting the institute on Thursday, French Interior Minister Manuel Valls called the killings “intolerable” and said they were “without doubt an execution”.
Berivan Akyol, an employee at Kurdish Institute of Paris, located near the Gare du Nord railroad station, was quoted as saying that the killings of the women were “politically motivated”.