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January 13, 2013, Sunday

Message of Paris slayings

Last week, three female Kurdish activists, including Sakine Cansız, a co-founder of the terrorist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), were shot dead in central Paris in what authorities are calling an execution.

This comes at a time when Turkey is holding peace talks with PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan, imprisoned on İmralı Island, to try to persuade him to get the terrorist group to lay down its arms. The killings set off a round of accusations, with each side accusing the other of being behind the killings. However, until the perpetrators and motive behind the attack are revealed, columnists remain uncertain whether it was an attempt to sabotage the talks.

Provocative acts take place in Turkey whenever peace talks are on the table; we have seen this many times in the past. As for the latest such act in Paris, the Sabah daily's Mahmut Övür says Cansız was known to be a pro-peace figure within the PKK. And, more importantly, Cansız lent great support to Öcalan's meetings with the government to end the war between the PKK and the state. Therefore, it is meaningful that Cansız was a target. According to Övür, this means that some PKK wings opposed to peace are sending the messages that “the PKK is powerless without arms” and that “if you lay down your arms you will be shot” to the rest of the PKK. Övür also argues that the bullets that killed the three women in Paris were in a way also fired at Öcalan. Picking victims from the Kurdish diaspora in Europe is also meaningful as these people have remained opposed to meetings with the government. So, Övür believes the aim of the slayings was to raise anger among the Kurdish diaspora and derail the talks.

Kurtuluş Tayiz from the Taraf daily wrote that there have not actually been any concrete findings in the murders in Paris that show a link between them and the negotiations taking place on İmralı. But the first thing that came to people's minds when they heard about the slayings was the negotiations. Perhaps this is a correctly drawn link, Tayiz wrote, but the first idea that pops up into our heads usually stems from our biggest fears. “The linking of the slayings in Paris to the negotiations on İmralı is fed mostly by our political and social concerns. And our biggest political and social fear is that the possibility of peace and a solution to the Kurdish and PKK issues could be ruined by an act of sabotage. All political sides in the nation share this fear,” Tayiz wrote.

In his article titled “To be provoked or not to be provoked. That is the question,” Demiray Oral, another columnist for Taraf, said it does not really matter much who perpetrated the attack. According to Turkish nationalists, the PKK is the perpetrator; according to Kurdish nationalists the deep state is responsible; however, regardless of who perpetrated the crime, we know with certainty that they are against any democratic change in Turkey and will stage additional attacks to this end. What is really important now is how determined both sides are in the talks to bring peace to our beloved country.

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