Murder in Paris

Three Kurdish female activists, including a founding member of the Kurdistan’s Workers Party militant group (PKK), were mysteriously shot dead in Paris recently. An unsolved assassination (the French authorities are carrying out an in-depth inquiry on the murders) that has sparked rumours throughout Turkey and the region, where the central Government, particularly nationalist figures within it that receive the name of “the deep state” (it wouldn’t be the first time this type of accusations have been heard), has been accused of trying to jeopardize the peace process that kicked off weeks ago bearing promises of stability, through disarmament, and greater autonomy as well as the granting of more rights for the Southern Kurdish region. Meanwhile, the Turkish Government is blaming an internal feud, precisely regarding peace negotiations, within the rebel group PKK. Most are already blaming both sides for speaking publicly about the negotiations too soon, thus alienating extremists from both sides. Speculation is nowadays growing about a possible involvement of Syrian and Iranian rogue elements, moreover taking into account both Damascus and Tehran have been accused in recent times by Ankara of increasingly providing support to the Kurdish rebels, partly as a result of Erdogan’s blunt stance towards Assad’s regime since the onset of the uprising.

As for the resumption of talks between Prime Minister Erdogan and Abdullah Ocalan, leader and founding member of the PKK chief serving a life sentence, the Turkish government had admitted being in a few days before the murders, talks some consider the best opportunity in years for the Government to show it is moving in the Kurds’ direction, questions remain as to whether the executive is ready to make the necessary reforms to persuade rebels to give up their fight, moreover in view of the increasing strenght the Kurdish movement is gaining throughout the region (an issue I’ve been planning to write about for months – patience!). The conflict began in 1984, when the PKK took up arms against the government and, since then, the fighting has claimed the lives of over 40,000 people, mostly Kurdish militants and civilians.

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