MESOP 11.1.2013 – The Turkish prime minister, Tayyip Erdogan, said it was too early to apportion blame. “This may be an internal reckoning. Aside from this, we are engaged in a struggle against terrorism … but there are people who don’t want this. This could be a provocative undertaking by these people,” he said during a visit to Senegal.

Remzi Kartal, a KNC leader, told Reuters: “This is a political crime, there is no doubt about it.Öcalan and the Turkish government have started a peace process, they want to engage in dialogue but there are parties that are against resolving the Kurdish question and want to sabotage the peace process.”

Kurds in Turkey said the murders could be part of efforts to derail peace talks. Mehmet Ali Ertas, an activist and journalist at the pro-Kurdish news agency DIHA in Diyarbakir, said: “These murders happened during a pivotal moment. Military operations [against the PKK] and the talks [with Öcalan] are both ongoing. It looks like someone is trying to impede on the possibility of a peace process, like someone wants to create chaos.”

Ihsan Kaçar, head of the Istanbul Human Rights Association, said the killings could have been an attempt to undermine positive reaction in Turkey to the nascent peace process. “I was very hopeful about the talks with Öcalan, but after reading about the killings in Paris, these hopes have been shattered.”

Many commentators warned against premature conclusions, urging the French and Turkish governments to solve the murders as quickly as possible to prevent a backlash. “It is too early to speculate about the reasons for the killing,” Vahap Coskun, assistant professor at Diyarbakir Dicle University, said. “The most important thing now is for Turkey to fully co-operate with the French authorities in order to investigate the murders, and to disclose the results to the public.”