Iran dismisses claims of involvement in PKK killings in Paris

17 January 2013 / TODAYSZAMAN.COM, İSTANBUL, – Iran has dismissed accusations of involvement in the recent killing of three Kurdish women affiliated with the terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in Paris in what many saw as an attempt to derail ongoing peace talks between the Turkish state and the terrorist group.

“Media outlets close to the Zionists have been trying for years to turn the public opinion in Turkey against Iran. However, they have failed due to deep bonds between the people and governments of the two countries,” Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast was quoted as saying by Iran’s official IRNA news agency on Wednesday. “The Islamic Republic of Iran has always supported the establishment of peace between governments and ethnic groups, and supports the [peace] process which has started in Turkey,” he added.

Last week founding member of the PKK Sakine Cansız as well as Leyla Söylemez and Fidan Doğan were shot to death at the Kurdistan Information Bureau in central Paris. Mehmanparast’s statement comes on the heels of speculation by senior Kurdish politician Ahmet Türk, based in Turkey, claiming that Iran could be behind the killings of the Kurdish women to sabotage efforts for peace between the Turkish government and the PKK.

“The relations between the Islamic Republic of Iran and Turkey have always been based on mutual respect and good neighborly relations. Such an attitude causes Iran to consider Turkey’s stability, territorial integrity and security as its own,” Mehmanparast stressed. The execution-style killings came as Turkey is holding talks with jailed PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan to broker a deal for the disarming of the terrorist group. The group, designated a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and European Union, is reviled by most Turks, who see it as responsible for a conflict that has killed 40,000 people as it tries to carve up Turkish territory. In recent years, Ankara has accused Iran of sending spies to Turkey’s southeastern region, where the terrorist PKK mainly operates. In August 2012, Turkish police detained nine people, including an Iranian individual, on charges of spying for Iran’s National Intelligence and Security Organization (VEVAK) and planning to fuel an insurgency among the Kurdish population in Turkey’s south and Southeast.

The investigation began in August 2011, when Turkish police found a photograph of the Iğdır Provincial Gendarmerie Command building in a minibus in Iğdır and detained a Turkish individual and two suspects of Iranian origin, identified as Shahram Zargham Kohei and Mohammed Reza Esmaeilpour Ali Malek, on charges of taking photos of police stations and buildings belonging to military units in the area that have strategic importance. According to security sources, the group had plans to foment an uprising among the Kurdish population in southern and southeastern Turkey, especially in the provinces of Iğdır and Kars. The suspects face accusations of obtaining information about military personnel, the positions of troops in eastern Turkey, official buildings and the Syrian opposition to share with Iranian intelligence.