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MUSTAFA AKYOL > Three murders and a funeral

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On the night of Jan. 9, three women were murdered in Paris, in a seemingly professional assault against the Kurdistan Information Center. All of three of them were Turkey-born Kurds and active members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which Turkey considers as a terrorist group. One of them, Sakine Cansız, was even one of the founders of the PKK and a senior figure within the organization’s European network.

So far, the identity of the culprits has remained a mystery. But one thing is obvious: These murders came at a critical time when the Turkish government had announced a “dialogue” with the PKK, via its jailed leader Abdullah Öcalan, and hopes for peace were raised on both sides. It is also known that similar acts of “provocation” have taken place in the past again during efforts at reconciliation. Therefore, it is near common wisdom in Turkey these days that the Paris attack was against not only the three victims but also “peace.”

It is just unknown and contested who these “enemies of peace” are. Normally, the Turkish “deep state” would be one of the main suspects, because for a long time, Turkey’s security forces have carried out their hawkish policies independent from, and even in spite of, elected governments. However, this leviathan-in-disguise has been quite tamed and subdued by the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government in the past decade. So most commentators in Turkey do not give much weight to this possibility.

A second and more credible theory is based on the hawks within the PKK. Accordingly, this is an “inside job” committed by the radicals in the organization who have become alarmed by signs of moderation. The fact that the Paris victims seem to have “opened the door to their assassins,” as Kurdish association representative Leon Edart noted to the press, also makes this theory credible.

There is also a third theory, though, which can be combined with the second one: Third countries and their intelligence services, who might have carried out the operation themselves, or who might have used “pawns” within the PKK. Normally, most Turks would imagine these “third countries” as Western powers or Israel, but this time two different candidates are quite popular: The Baath regime in Syria and its best ally, Iran. These two regimes, some commentators argue, hate Turkey these days due to its support for the Syrian opposition, and the PKK is a tool they can happily use to hurt Ankara. The decades-old connection between the PKK and the Syrian Mukhabarat is seen as a good basis for this theory.

If you ask my take on all this, well, I have no magical tool to know who the culprits were, so I remain unsure on all three theories. Yet the first one (“Turkish deep state”) seems to be the most unlikely one, whereas the second (“haws in the PKK”) appears to me as the most convincing. We, after all, know that PKK has a history of violence within itself as well.

Right now, however, the most burning question is probably not the true story of the Paris murders but the way it will be interpreted in Turkey’s southeast. As I was writing this piece, the bodies of the victims were on their way home, to be buried in Diyarbakır, Tunceli and Kahramanmaraş. How they will be received and whether their funeral will turn into a “PKK show” are questions that many ponder. A bigger question, of course, is whether the deaths of these unfortunate women will harm or serve the peace that Turkey desperately needs.

January/16/2013

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mara mcglothin

1/17/2013 2:49:59 PM

DOCTOR Thanks for your clarification. But if the PKK is labeled as a terrorist organization and one of these women was a "founding" member of the PKK,, then why wasn't she wanted for terroristic crimes. I still don't understand how people like this are allowed to run free in other countries. Anyone could have committed these crimes. I am well over all the conspiracy theories. I am glad it happened in France so at least there will be a thorough investigation with some kind of outcome.

Hasan Kutlay

1/17/2013 3:25:18 AM

They can have their "PKK show" as long as they don't blame Turkey massively during their show. BDP deputy Kisanak blamed Turkey, and even France, for the killings. Ridicilous remarks. If BDP deputies like Kisanak are going to make such remarks during the funeral and agitate the ppl against Turkey during this critical period of peace talks, then i don't know what to say anymore.

Agnes Smith

1/17/2013 12:16:43 AM

It is blatantly Mossad....they are brilliant and the only ones capable of such an execution. And of today 12:00am/17th Jan some talk of an apology ....for the Turks killed on the Mavi vessel - go figure!

Murat

1/16/2013 10:54:17 PM

At least one was a PKK founder. As for other "activists", possibly they were involved in activities that supported the finacial base of PKK. Such violent death is not wished on anyone, after all even Apo is enjoying good life on his private island, but these are hardly innocent civilians. They have done nothing as far as we can tell to stem the violence of the kind that got to them finally and they were actually in a position to do something about it. There is a lesson here for all Kurds.

Blue Dotterel

1/16/2013 9:38:36 PM

Mara, in fact in Cihan Celik's article on the same topic, I explained that I do not think the evil imperialist West is responsible this time.I only point out that the Western corporate media (and HDN) conspiracy theories regarding Iran and Syria are less probable and credible than that of the US and NATO intelligence agencies murdering the three Kurds in Paris. The US has a much greater motive to scupper the talks than Iran or Syria has, not that it would have been necessary at this early stage.

Nuri Gotham

1/16/2013 9:19:40 PM

The location of the murder was the office of KNC (Kurdish National Congress) not the PKK. You can not assume that it was done by the PKK because the door was not forced. It can be someone disguised as messenger, postman or an visitor. It is ironic that Mr. Akyol's comments are the copies of the PM and his minister, claiming it to be the PKK's internal strife without any evidence. It is not clear who are the murderers but it is very obvious who are the jubilant over the murder of three Kurds.

Tekion Particle

1/16/2013 9:18:29 PM

Perpetrators of this crime in my opinion is the PKK hardliners who have made a lot of money extorting cash from shop keepers of Kurdish origin in Europe using the cause of supporting and financing the terror operations in Turkey. Any peace deal would simply make them irrelevant and put them out of business. With no war to use as an excuse it would become much harder for them to convince shop keepers to keep contributing. It would be the end of extortion mafia but they still have the drugs busi.

mara mcglothin

1/16/2013 7:27:39 PM

BLUE Once again it must be the evil West who is responsible. How incredibly convenient. I would think that the French government will look into the matter much better than in the other cases where you cry grand conspiracy. Maybe this time we will get some results, but I am betting you would not believe anything they find.

Doctor Osmanov

1/16/2013 7:19:19 PM

Mara Mcglothin. This office was not a PKK office. Just because there were PKK supporters and members there does not mean that this office was a PKK office. It was a Kurdish cultural office and ofcourse these figures in the PKK will be there and try to convince people to support the PKK since the major support PKK gets is from Kurds. Basic logic... Thanks Mr Akyol for your analize. Personally as a Kurd I did the mistake to accuse without facts the Turkey. But I think it could be Iran or Syria.

K M

1/16/2013 6:53:48 PM

The AKP is now the deep state, so what double game are they playing?
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