Three Kurdish women, including a founder of a terrorist separatist group battling Turkish troops, were shot to death in Paris, French officials and Kurdish activists said Thursday. Hundreds of infuriated Kurds immediately flooded the neighborhood, some claiming the deaths were a “political assassination” and blaming Turkey.
The slayings came as Turkey was holding peace talks with the Kurdistan Workers Party to try to persuade it to disarm. The conflict between the group, known as the PKK, and the Turkish government has claimed tens of thousands of lives since 1984.
French Interior Minister Manuel Valls, who visited the Kurdistan Information Center in Paris, where the bodies were found, said the deaths were “without doubt an execution.” He called it a “totally intolerable act.”
President Francois Hollande later called the crime “horrible” and added that he and other government officials had met regularly with one of the victims. He did not say which one.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the killings. A Turkish lawmaker with the ruling party claimed the women were slain in a dispute between factions of the PKK.
The group, which seeks self-rule for Kurds in southeast Turkey, is considered a terrorist organization by Turkey and its allies, including the U.S. and the European Union.