Who Murdered Sakine Cansız?

A woman of Kurdish origin holds a sign reading "Sakine Cansiz, Fidan Dogan, Leyla Soylemez - 3 women militants of the Kurdish cause" during a demonstration and commemoration in honor of the three Kurdish women activists killed yesterday in Paris, on January 10, 2013.

A woman of Kurdish origin holds a sign reading “Sakine Cansiz, Fidan Dogan, Leyla Soylemez – 3 women militants of the Kurdish cause” during a demonstration and commemoration in honor of the three Kurdish women activists killed in Paris on January 10, 2013. (FREDERICK FLORIN/AFP/Getty Images)

On the night of January 9, three women were murdered in the offices of the Kurdistan Information Office in Paris.   According to press accounts, the three were killed execution style, each shot with a bullet to the head.

All of the three women, Sakine Cansız, Fidan Doğan and Leyla Söylemez, were activists, with ties to the Kurdish Workers’ Party, or PKK, and Cansız, the eldest of the group, is one of the founders and leading figures within that organization.

While there is considerable debate as to who killed these women, there is little question that these murders were political in nature.   Most analysts believe that the killings are aimed at scuttling nascent talks between the Turkish government and the PKK aimed at ending a conflict which has cost as many as 40,000 lives and led to countless human rights abuses since it began in 1984.

Amnesty has condemned these murders and called on the French authorities to “leave no stone left unturned in the investigation” and for Turkey to give its full cooperation as the case moves forward.

Just as importantly, Amnesty has called on both the PKK and Turkey to continue the hard work for peace.  John Dalhuisen, Europe and Central Asia Programme Director for Amnesty International highlights that “[both] sides must ensure that the killings do not derail negotiations aimed at ending the decades long conflict and ongoing human rights abuses.”

Three women were brutally murdered a few nights ago.  Peace should not be the next victim.

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