Key facts on slaying of Kurdish women in Paris

10th January 2013, Comments 0 comments

Key facts surrounding the execution-style slaying of three Kurdish women in Paris early Thursday:


Sakine Cansiz: Founding member of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party, the PKK.

Fidan Dogan: Employee of the Kurdish information centre in Paris. Paris representative of the Brussels-based Kurdistan National Congress.

Leyla Soylemez: Kurdish activist.


The PKK is an armed rebel group which has been fighting for Kurdish autonomy or independence in southeastern Turkey since 1984. It is considered a terrorist organisation by the European Union and the United States. An estimated 45,000 people have died in the conflict between the PKK and Turkish authorities since 1984.


Kurds are a people originating in an area known as Kurdistan that spans Iraq, Iraq, Syria and Turkey. They speak Kurdish and are mostly Muslim. The worldwide Kurdish population is estimated at 30 million, according to the CIA World Factbook, and up to 38 million by other sources. More than half live in Turkey.

Turmoil in the region, poverty and persecution have sent many Kurds into exile. Up to two million now live in Europe, North America and elsewhere.


The slain women were part of a French Kurdish community estimated at 150,000, 90 percent of whom come from Turkey. The French community is the second biggest in Europe, behind Germany, home to an estimated 750,000 Kurds.


The killings came a day after Turkish media reported that jailed PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan had agreed a deal with Turkish authorities on a roadmap for ending the insurgency. This has led to speculation the killings could be somehow linked to this development.

© 2013 AFP

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