Three Kurdish activists were found shot dead at a Kurdish institute in Paris early Thursday. The three female activists were found by friends who came to find them after calls to the institute went unanswered.
One of women was one of the founders of the militant Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK), which Turkey, the European Union, and the United States consider a terrorist group.
Speaking Thursday morning France’s Interior Minister Manuel Valls called the deaths a “political assassination,” according to France 24.
“Three people, three women have been shot down, killed, without doubt executed,” he said. He declined to speculate as to a motive for the murders.
PKK founding member Sakine Cansiz was one of the victims according to the Federation of Kurdish Associations in France, France 24 reports.
Of the 25 million ethnic Kurds, most of whom live at the intersection of the borders of Iraq, Iran, Syria, and Turkey, about 14 million reside in Turkey.
Politicians and analysts have weighed in regarding possible motives for the assassination of the women. Some have blamed the deaths on an internal feud within the PKK.
Paris-based Turkish political analyst Ali Kazancigil, says the assassinations could be the work of Turkish or PKK forces and are likely linked to recent peace talks, reported France 24.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the incident could be part of a PKK internal conflict or could also be a “provocation” timed to disrupt talks with the PKK’s jailed leader, Abdullah Ocalan. Erdogan said it was too soon to comment.
Turkey’s intelligence agency is meeting with Abdullah Ocalan on a prison island off Istanbul, reported AP. He has been serving a life sentence there since 1999.
Kurdish political party leader Gultan Kisanak said Cansiz was “an idol of the Kurdish people and Kurdish women.” Kisanak rejected the idea of an internal feud.
“How dare they present the murder of a revolutionary as internal strife without any evidence?” she said, according to AP.
The Epoch Times publishes in 35 countries and in 20 languages. Subscribe to our e-newsletter.