Thousands of Kurds carry banners in Diyarbakir in January 2013 bearing pictures of Cansiz and two associates killed in France. Photo AFP
BARCELONA, Spain – German security services have evidence that Turkish intelligence agents were behind the killing of three female activists of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in Paris more than a year ago, Germany’s respected Der Spiegel weekly reported.
The magazine warns that Turkey’s relations with the European Union will be significantly affected if Ankara’s hand in the killings is proven, with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan likely to come under greater pressure.
According to the newsmagazine, several documents and sound recordings analyzed by German security implicate Turkey’s intelligence service, MIT. Der Spiegel said that one document surfaced in January on the Internet in which one of the three activists was identified and this alerted the German authorities.
PKK co-founder Sakine Cansiz and two other female associates -- Fidan Dogan and Leyla Soylemez -- were found dead in Paris on January 9 last year, their bodies riddled with bullets.
The weekly said that one of the documents seen by the Germans carries an authentic watermark of the Turkish secret service and includes the names of MIT officials in charge of dealing with PKK issues.
“If it is fake, it is deceptively real,” the article quoted a senior German security official as saying. “Even to do this it would take considerable insider knowledge,” the official told the weekly.
Der Spiegel added that, “If at the end of the investigation in France it is confirmed that the Turkish secret service MIT could perform an assassination in the European Union, this would have an enormous political impact.”
The magazine said that German secret services have already restricted sharing information and other cooperation with the MIT.
French police believe that the principal target of the execution was Cansiz, the commander in arms of Abdullah Ocalan, the PKK leader jailed in Turkey, and that the two other women were just at the wrong place at the wrong time.
Since the very beginning after the assassinations, PKK activist have pointed the finger of blame at elements inside Turkey’s security services.
Hard-line elements inside the Turkish establishment are believed to be opposed to peace negotiations with the PKK, which got off in earnest after Ocalan declared a cease-fire last March in the three-decade guerrilla war for greater Kurdish rights in Turkey.
Until now, French police have only arrested Omer Guney, an occasional driver of Cansiz, who was with the three women the night of the murders.
Suspicions against a Turkish role began to strengthen after recordings surfaced last month in an audio clip uploaded on YouTube, featuring a conversation apparently between Guney and two MIT agents, discussing the plans and details of murdering Cansiz.
Other documents also have surfaced in the media, including an apparent internal MIT circular regarding a plot to exterminate Cansiz.
MIT released a statement last month denying involvement in the killings. It said that an internal administrative investigation into the claims had been launched.
Der Spiegel is one of Europe’s largest publications of its kind, known for its investigative journalism. It has been called one of Europe’s most influential magazines.