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Kurdish Activists Shot Dead In Paris

A man moves the body of one the three Kurdish women who were found killed with a gunshot to the head at the Kurdish Institute in Paris.
French police say three Kurdish women have been found shot dead at a Kurdish community center in Paris.

Media reports identified one of the women as Sakine Cansiz, a founding member of the militant Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which seeks autonomy in Turkey's predominantly Kurdish southeast. The other two women were also said to be Kurdish activists.

Media reports said the women had gunshot wounds to the heads. Police would not confirm those reports or the identities of the women.

But French Interior Minister Manuel Calls, who visited the scene of the killings, told reporters that it looked like the women had been executed.

"I came here, to this neighborhood where three women were slain, killed, without doubt an execution," he said. "This is a very grave matter and this explains my presence. This is unacceptable. The investigation is only starting under the authority of the prosecutor's office and the antiterrorist forces are involved to shed all possible light on this unacceptable act."

The bodies of the women were found overnight at the Kurdish information center after community members, unable to contact them by phone, alerted police.

A Kurdish spokesman, Eyup Doru spoke to journalists about Sakine Cansiz and a second victim.
Sakine Cansiz has been named as one of the victims.
Sakine Cansiz has been named as one of the victims.

"The woman who was killed was an historic figure who was tortured under the military dictatorship in the 1980s, who spent years in jail and who was recognized as a political refugee in France," he said.

"The other, younger one was practically born here. She went through the French education system. She was working for the recognition of her rights and her identity and the freedom of the Kurdish people."

Hundreds of people, many of them Kurds, gathered outside the Kurdish center on January 10 to protest the killings.

In Turkey, Huseyin Celik, the deputy chairman of Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party, said the attack appeared to be the result of "an internal feud" within the PKK.

The deaths come as Turkey has begun talks with jailed PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan aimed at convincing the group to disarm.

More than 45,000 people have been killed since the PKK began its armed struggle for Kurdish self-rule in Turkey's southeast in 1984.

Cansiz lived for years in France, where she was granted political asylum in 1988.

Turkey issued an international warrant for her arrest due to her membership in the banned PKK. She had been arrested in Germany in 2007, but was released without being extradited back to Turkey.

With reporting by AFP, the BBC, and
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