Turkish Man Charged in Paris Murders of Three PKK Women Leaders

A 30-year-old Turkish man linked to the Kurdish militant group PKK was charged today in the Jan. 10 killings in Paris of three women leaders of the organization.

He was charged with murders linked to terrorism and involvement in a terrorist ring, and is being held in jail while investigators search for motives and to determine whether he acted alone, according to French prosecutors.

The man, who lives in France and acted as a driver for one of the women, “could be the author, or one of the authors, of the crime,” Paris public prosecutor Francois Molins said today. A second suspect was released without charge.

The victims included Sakine Cansiz, one of five people who founded the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, in 1978.

The PKK, considered a terrorist organization by U.S. and the European Union, has been fighting for autonomy of the Kurdish-dominated southeast of Turkey since 1984. The conflict has left 40,000 dead. Turkey has been talking to imprisoned PKK chief Abdullah Ocalan to seek an end to the fighting.

The women were all shot multiple times in the head with the same gun in the group’s Paris office between midnight and about 2 a.m., Molins said. Gunshot residue was found in the suspect’s bag, though a partial print found on a cartridge didn’t match his, the prosecutor said.

The driver had already been questioned and was arrested after discrepancies arose between his statement and evidence from surveillance video and other witnesses.

To contact the reporter on this story: Heather Smith in Paris at hsmith26@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Aarons at aaarons@bloomberg.net

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