Relieved by French findings, Turkey traces Güney’s links

Relieved by French findings, Turkey traces Güney’s links

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Relieved by French findings, Turkey traces Güney’s links

Paris prosecutor Francois Molins (C), the head of French Central Command of the Judicial Police (DCPJ), Christian Lothion (R) and director of the police Christian Flaesh tell details about Ömer Güney (inset), suspect of killings in Paris. AFP photo

Turkish officials have intensified their investigation into the probable links of the suspect in Paris killings to discover his motives, after French officials have revealed details about the alleged murderer.

“The findings of the French police and a comprehensive statement from the prosecutor are reassuring. They have partially removed the clouds, but further investigation into the suspect’s links is still ongoing,” diplomatic sources told the Hürriyet Daily News yesterday. Sources also said an exchange of information between the Turkish and French foreign ministries and intelligence services was taking place.

The Turkish intelligence service, the National Intelligence Organization (MİT), is also investigating the incident through its relevant unit. As the killings came only days after the government launched a fresh round of talks with the imprisoned PKK leader, Abdullah Öcalan, to end the terror problem and to solve the Kurdish question, there were arguments that the incident was aiming at stopping this peace process.

PKK denies Güney’s ties

French prosecutor François Molin said the French police arrested 20-year-old Ömer Güney as the prime suspect in the murder of Sakine Cansız, Leyla Söylemez and Fidan Doğan, three Kurdish militants, in Paris on Jan. 9. Güney is officially under investigation for “attempting or committing murder in connection to a terrorist organization.” He is believed to have joined the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) two years ago, although a senior PKK member denied Güney’s connection.


DHA photo

“This is false information. The PKK does not recruit people in Europe. We don’t know this person, neither does our structure in Europe,” Murat Karayılan, the PKK’s senior leader, told Fırat news agency yesterday. Karayılan suggested that Güney could be an activist working for some Kurdish organizations in Europe, but added, “This does not make him a member of the PKK.”

“Our initial probe shows that this person called Ömer Güney has participated in some peaceful mass rallies and was visiting the Kurdish association,” he said. According to Karayılan, it would be impossible for someone who had not had military training to commit such professional murders.

One of the scenarios Turkish officials are looking at is the potential role of Bahoz Erdal, a Syrian-origin senior PKK member who is seen as a tool of the Syrian administration inside the terror organization. A number of deadly terrorist operations are believed to have taken place on his orders when Turkish-Syrian tension was high. “The claims about Bahoz Erdal’s role are also being investigated,” sources said.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has reacted positively to the French prosecutor’s statements as these findings countered the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) and the PKK’s theories that the “Turkish deep state” might be involved in this incident.

“Putting the blame on the state and the government immediately after the incident took place is a show of unprincipled politics,” Erdoğan said, referring to BDP leaders. He said, “Those who have criticized the Turkish government and state for this incident will be ashamed and will apologize when the incident comes to light.”

BDP co-chairman Selahattin Demirtaş expressed his dissatisfaction with the statements of the French prosecutor and said they were not finalized yet. “The revealed information is far from being satisfactory. We want the truth revealed as well as the real powers behind it. The duty lies on the French side to bring this incident to light with all of its connections.” He also called on the Turkish government to address this issue. It should engage in all sorts of diplomatic and intelligence initiatives to shed light on this incident.

Güney’s family rejects claims

In the meantime, Güney’s uncle, Zekai Güney, who resides in Turkey, refuted claims that his nephew was a member of the PKK. “[Some people] are trying to lay the blame on him,” he said.

“I could not talk to my brother. I want Turkish officials to take the necessary security measures for the protection of my brother and his family. I called him very many times, but I could not reach him.” Güney’s family is residing in the Garges-les-Gonesse district of France.