WASHINGTON ― When President-elect Donald Trump spoke to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Nov. 9, he mentioned one of his Turkish business partners as a “close friend” and passed on his remarks that he is “your great admirer.” The twinned Trump Towers bear the president-elect’s name in Istanbul. Dogan Holding, a massive media and real estate conglomerate in Turkey, owns the conjoined buildings and pays the Trump Organization to license the Trump name and brand. It can now rely on that name and brand to be sitting in the Oval Office and singing its praises to President Erdogan. In his call with the Turkish leader, Trump passed on praise for Erdogan from Mehmet Ali Yalcindag, son-in-law of Dogan Holding owner Aydin Dogan and former president of the Dogan Media Group. His wife, Arzuhan Dogan Yalcindage, sits on the board of Dogan Holding. He’s friends with the Trump family and had worked closely on the Trump Towers project in Istanbul. On election night, he attended Trump’s shocking victory celebration at the New York Hilton in Midtown Manhattan. Trump’s praise for Mehmet Ali Yalcindag was first reported by Amberin Zaman in the independent Turkish paper Diken. Zaman’s report has since been picked up by other Turkish newspapers and television stations. Vouching for his Turkish business partner in the call with Erdogan is just the most recent sign of Trump’s near-impossible task in avoiding the significant conflicts of interest his global real estate business presents. During the campaign he promised to separate himself from his business and to work only for the American people. “I wouldn’t ever be involved because I wouldn’t care about anything but our country, anything,” he said in January. Since his election, Trump has declared that he would hand off his business to three of his adult children, Ivanka, Donald Jr. and Eric Trump, in a so-called blind trust. He has done no such thing. Instead, he appointed his children to the executive committee of his presidential transition ― blending his business with his government activities. One week after his election, he welcomed three of his Indian business partners to Trump Tower in Manhattan. The Trump Organization is involved in at least five real estate deals in India. Ivanka Trump, despite her supposed separate role as head of the Trump business, joined her father last week for his in-person meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. The president-elect also reportedly handed the phone to Ivanka during a conversation with Argentinian President Mauricio Macri. Trump reportedly discussed the possibility of speeding up the permit process for a building that would bear his name in Buenos Aires. Spokesmen for both Macri and Trump denied that any such discussion took place. Further, Trump recently told British politician and former head of the UK Independence Party Nigel Farage that he should help lead the opposition to offshore wind farms in Britain. Trump has long opposed the construction of such offshore wind farms near his golf course in Scotland. When the New York Times asked Trump on Tuesday if he had this conversation with Farage, he said, “I might have brought it up.” Norm Eisen, the former top ethics official for President Barack Obama and former ambassador to the Czech Republic, called Trump’s references to his business partner in his conversation with Erdogan “entirely improper,” “wrong” and “reprehensible.” “There should be a big, beautiful wall between his personal interests and the public interest,” Eisen said. “It’s only a matter of time before not only will his voters and the more than half of the voters who chose someone else get fed up, but when you disrespect these boundaries it’s an invitation to people to disrespect them back.” For now, Trump’s touting of Yalcindag provides a major benefit for the company and its leadership. There is a reason the company’s stock briefly surged after Trump’s victory. In recent years, the Dogan Media Group has butted heads with the authoritarian Erdogan as he sought to punish dissenting media. “It will give them a layer of protection,” said Henri Barkey, director of the Middle East program at the Wilson Center, a nonpartisan policy forum. “Not because Trump will necessarily defend them, but because the Turkish government will think twice about going after them because the president of the United States is supporting them and, also, Erdogan is really looking for Trump to change many of Obama’s policies, especially in Syria and with respect to Iran. So he’s not going after anything that would upset or annoy Trump.” In 2009, Erdogan’s government levied a $2.5 billion fine on Aydin Dogan’s company while Erdogan called for his supporters to boycott the company’s television stations and newspapers. The massive fine was nearly equivalent to Dogan’s entire net worth. Dogan was at the time an outspoken critic of Erdogan and his Islamist AK political party. The fine was compared at the time to efforts by Russian President Vladimir Putin to crush his wealthy political opponents, including Mikhail Khodorkovsky, a former oil tycoon who now lives in exile. And this was only one of many attacks the Erdogan government has made against Dogan and his business empire. “In the last decade, Erdogan put a huge amount of political and economic pressure on Dogan Group, which ended up with two outcomes,” said Soner Cagaptay, director of the Turkish Research Program at the nonprofit Washington Institute for Near East Policy. “One, sales of Dogan-owned media to government-owned businesses. Second, change of editorial tone and content. For example, prominent columnists have been fired. Editors have been demoted.” While not entirely losing its independent voice, Dogan Media Group properties have adopted pro-government stances in all but the most egregious instances. The change was evident in its coverage of the 2013 popular protests in Istanbul’s Taksim Square by CNN Turk, a Dogan Media Group property. Instead of covering the protests, CNN Turk aired documentaries about penguins. The penguin soon became a popular image among protesters. CNN Turk was also instrumental in Erdogan’s successful defeat of the coup attempt in July. In a famous moment, Erdogan made his first appearance amid the chaos of the coup attempt on CNN Turk, when the anchor held up her phone with the Turkish president on the screen via FaceTime. He called for his supporters to flood the streets and show their support for his regime. It turned the tide in his favor. After the coup was defeated, Erdogan adopted emergency powers. He has since shuttered at least 20 television and radio stations while arresting reporters and columnists accused of working with or holding sympathies with the coup plotters. During this time, Yalcindag served as head of the Dogan Media Group. He resigned in September amid a computer hacking scandal that implied he coordinated with the government to censor news. A hacking collective released emails alleged to be from Yalcindag to Energy Minister Berat Albayrak, Erdogan’s son-in-law, that purported to show the two ensuring the news stayed within bounds approved by the government. Yalcindag asserted that the hacked emails were fraudulent. Now Yalcindag is the key middleman between the incoming president of the United States and the Turkish government. Trump’s victory may also help keep his name on that complex. In June, Erdogan denounced Trump’s Islamophobia, stating that the then-candidate had “no tolerance for Muslims in America.” The Turkish president called for Trump’s name to be stripped from Trump Towers Istanbul and said that he regretted attending the opening ceremony. Now that the Trump brand is connected to American diplomacy, this topic apparently did not come up when the two leaders spoke. None of this is worrying to the president-elect, who has dismissed any concerns about conflicts of interest. In a tweet sent Monday, he blamed the media for reporting on his potential conflicts and said that everyone knew he had these business ties when they voted for him. In his Tuesday interview with New York Times reporters, Trump asserted that he could continue to run his business while in the White House if he really wanted to. He further laid down his explanation for this and all future conflicts as they present themselves: “The law is totally on my side, meaning, the president can’t have a conflict of interest.” CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story said Trump had praised his business partner to Erdogan. In fact, according to the Turkish-language report, he passed on the business partner’s praise of Erdogan. -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. 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ANKARA (Reuters) - An Istanbul prosecutor has submitted an indictment accusing the founder of Dogan Holding and chairman of Isbank of involvement in a fuel-smuggling ring, several newspapers close to the government said on Thursday.
Turkey stocks were higher after the close on Wednesday, as gains in the Technology, Sports and Real Estate Investments sectors led shares higher. At the close in Istanbul, the BIST 100 rose 1.29%. The best performers of the session on the BIST 100 were Afyon Cimento (IS:AFYON), which rose 21.09% or 1.47 points to trade at 8.44 at the close. Meanwhile, Konya Cimento (IS:KONYA) added 8.12% or 31.00 points to end at 413.00 and Vestel Beyaz Esya (IS:VESBE) was up 5.66% or 0.600 points to 11.200 in late trade. The worst performers of the session were Dogan Holding (IS:DOHOL), which fell 1.59% or 0.010 points to trade at 0.630 at the close. Hurriyet Gzt. (IS:HURGZ) declined 1.45% or 0.010 points to end at 0.680 and Is Gmyo (IS:ISGYO) was down 1.21% or 0.020 points to 1.630. Rising stocks outnumbered declining ones on the Istanbul Stock Exchange by 286 to 115 and 16 ended unchanged. Shares in Konya Cimento (IS:KONYA) rose to all time highs; up 8.12% or 31.00 to 413.00. Gold for August delivery was down 0.31% or 3.70 to $1172.90 a troy ounce. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Crude oil for delivery in August fell 1.33% or 0.81 to hit $60.20 a barrel, while the August Brent oil contract fell 1.59% or 1.02 to trade at $63.42 a barrel. USD/TRY was down 0.07% to 2.6782, while EUR/TRY rose 0.07% to 2.9952. The US Dollar Index was up 0.06% at 95.66.
ISTANBUL -- Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is widely feared in Turkey’s business world. From the country’s billionaires to its bankers, people worry their political stances will draw the ire of the controversial leader and that their businesses will suffer as a result. "We have seen growing authoritarian rule and increasingly the prime minister has become the only actor," said a source close to the industrial conglomerate Dogan Holding who requested anonymity out of fear of the government. "Even companies supporting the government are feeling the pressure." Erdogan has a history of lashing out at businesses when they don't fully support the state. He slapped Dogan Holding, which has stakes in everything from the media to energy industries, with a nearly $4 billion tax fine in 2009 for its media coverage of a corruption scandal implicating members of the government. As Turkey prepares for highly-anticipated municipal elections on Sunday, widely seen as a referendum on the prime minister's 11-year rule, many business owners are increasingly fearful they'll face retaliation from the state if they're deemed to be anti-government. Amid another corruption scandal and recently renewed anti-government protests, Erdogan is trying to root out any opposition to his party and maintain his grip on the state. The election is expected to set the tone for upcoming presidential elections in August (which Erdogan may enter) and parliamentary elections next year. "There will be a witch hunt after the elections," the source said. Erdogen claims that Fetullah Gulen, a U.S.-based Islamic preacher in exile who has become his staunch enemy in recent years, is trying to overthrow the government. He says Gulen is responsible for leaking recordings to social media that appear to tie him and the government to money laundering. Some companies say they have been labeled as Gulen supporters -- considered treasonous by Erdogan -- just because they are perceived as government opponents. Fadi Hakura, a Turkey analyst for the international think tank Chatham House, says that businesses viewed as anti-government -- and especially pro-Gulen -- could soon come under increased pressure from the prime minister and his ruling party. "We have seen in the past and today that the favorite method used by the government to put pressure on business opponents is via tax investigation," he said. "The Turkish state has enormous amounts of legal regulatory and political power in its hands." "It is a highly centralized country with weak checks and balances, so businesses do not have the recourses afforded to them like in the United States to go to the courts to fight against government overreach," he continued. "Power is concentrated in the hands of the prime minister. And right now, the Gulen companies are the main companies in the firing line." For supporters of Erdogan who still make up a sizeable portion of the population, the prime minister represents a stable leader supporting Turks who aren't well-educated, wealthy or secular, like many in the opposition parties. "I don’t believe what he’s accused of," said Emin Uçman, who runs a vegetable stand in the prime minister's hometown, referring to the corruption scandal. "I knew him when he was a teen. I don’t believe that a person who cares so much about people would do a thing like this." And yet many business owners disagree, as the government has continued to target companies since it lashed out at Dogan Holding in 2009. In July of last year, tax inspectors and police raided Turkey’s only oil refinery. The refinery happened to be owned by the country's largest company, Koc Holding, which came under fire weeks earlier when one of its hotels sheltered protesters during anti-government demonstrations. Erdogan accused the hotel and Koc Holding of harboring criminals, even though he said the raid wasn’t tied to the protests. Bank Asya, Turkey’s largest Islamic bank established by the Gulen movement, has been hit particularly hard by the Erdogan-Gulen divide. At the beginning of the year, the bank watched as more than 1 billion dollars -- 20 percent of its total deposits -- was pulled by companies affiliated with the government. According to Hakura, as well as many media outlets, Erdogan himself instructed the companies to withdraw their money. Gulen supporters quickly reacted by pouring their own money into the bank to replace the lost funds, and the bank says it's no longer at risk of going under. In early March, Turkey passed a bill that requires private preparatory schools, known as dershanes, to be shut down -- a direct blow to the Gulen movement, which runs about a quarter of the institutions. The schools provide tutoring for difficult high school and college entrance exams and have served as a primary source of financial backing for the Gulen movement. And on Thursday, Turkish media reported that police and financial inspectors raided a Turkish company named Kaynak that has close ties to the Gulen movement. The head of Kaynak’s executive board issued a statement saying it was merely a routine procedure, but the inspection raised questions about motives. Mustafa Yesil, president of the Journalists and Writers Foundation, an organization founded by Gulen himself, said he lost faith in the prime minister and his political party long ago. "The government is trying to ban civic and legal businesses and centers are being shut down,” he said, sitting in the foundation’s office in Istanbul. "Don’t go to [Gulenist] schools. Don’t watch their TV," he continued, mimicking the way he says Erdogan preaches to his supporters. "Erdogan is employing the state power against us. But we will keep our rightful standing through legal and civic means."
По сведениям из осведомленных источников, компании NewsCorp, Liberty Global, Turk Telekom, Dogan Holding и Dogus Group рассматривают вариант приобретения турецкого оператора цифрового платного телевидения Digiturk за сумму, не превышающую $1 млрд. Стоит отметить, что доля рынка платного телевидения компании Digiturk в стране составила 61,73% по результатам второго квартала 2012 года.
Oktay Enimehmedov is charged with making a murder threat for aiming the gas pistol at political leader Ahmed Dogan's headA Bulgarian man who tried to shoot a gas pistol at the leader of his country's ethnic Turkish political party said on Tuesday that his only regret was that his weapon didn't work."I did not intend to kill Ahmed Dogan. I just intended to scare him," Oktay Enimehmedov told a court hearing.Enimehmedov, 25, has been charged with making a murder threat and hooliganism for aiming the gas pistol at Dogan's head on 19 January as the leader of Bulgaria's Movement for Rights and Freedom was on a stage giving a speech at his party's annual conference in Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria.The gun didn't fire and Dogan, 58, was not harmed, but Dogan pushed the gunman's hand, then dived to the floor as other people at the conference wrestled Enimehmedov to the ground and repeatedly punched and kicked him."I regret only that my gun misfired," Enimehmedov told the court hearing, which denied him bail for two reasons: he could flee and his own safety could be at risk.Experts say a gas pistol is a non-lethal weapon used for self-defence, but that when fired from close range it can cause life-threatening injuries.A TV video of the attack, which went viral on the internet, has prompted hundreds of Bulgarians to demand that delegates who beat Enimehmedov be brought to justice. On Tuesday the deputy prosecutor general, Borislav Sarafov, told reporters an investigation of the beating of Enimehmedov is under way and that those responsible could face charges.Dogan's Movement for Rights and Freedom party mainly represents ethnic Turks and other Muslims in Bulgaria, who make up 12% of the nation's 7.3 million people. Dogan has been the party's leader since he founded it in 1990, and the 19 January conference chose Lyutvi Mestan, Dogan's deputy, as his successor.On Tuesday an alliance of European political parties issued a statement asking the European Union to hold a plenary hearing about the rule of law and personal freedoms in Bulgaria in the wake of the assault on Dogan.Guy Verhofstadt, the leader of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe, said: "It was a miracle that the incident did not end up tragically and should not be dismissed lightly." He said that such an attack on a party leader "raises broader questions on the state of democracy in Bulgaria".BulgariaEuropeguardian.co.uk © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds
Gunman reportedly wanted to show politician he was 'not untouchable', while some suggest whole incident was stagedIt was a shot almost heard around the world as millions watched a man storm a stage in Bulgaria and then point his gun at a prominent opposition politician live on television.But many in Bulgaria are now trying to separate fact from fiction as they try to be clear about what motivated the attack.Police took Oktai Enimehmedov, 25, into custody after he pulled the gun on Ahmed Dogan, the leader of the Movement for Rights and Freedoms (MRF), a party supported by Muslim voters including some Turks in Bulgaria.Police now say Enimehmedov was holding a gas pistol that was loaded with pepper spray, with two other "bullets" being simply noisemakers. He pointed the gun at Dogan's head during a party congress in the capital, Sofia, but failed to shoot. He was tackled to the ground and beaten by guards and party members as TV cameras continued to roll.Enimehmedov, an ethnic Turk, reportedly left a note at his home addressed to his mother, saying he had no intention of killing the party leader but simply wanted to show him he was not "untouchable".Nedelcho Stoychev, head of the interior ministry's psychological unit, said the note showed Enimehmedov believed he would not survive the attack.Police said they thought Enimehmedov, an architecture student with a criminal record for drugs, theft and assault, had acted alone. But officials have been forced to address claims the party may have staged the "assassination attempt" itself in order to boost its image.Boyko Borisov, the prime minister, said on Sunday that he believed the attack was "probably not staged". He said: "This is a worrying event that should not take place in modern Bulgaria."The MRF has been dogged by accusations of political and economic corruption for years. Dogan, who has led the party for nearly 25 years, was acquitted of corruption charges at a high-profile trial two years ago."It seems like [the gun pointing was] a pretty artificial attempt to present their party as a victim, to rally their voters, to strengthen their line," said Ivan Dikov, editor of Sofia News Agency, Bulgaria's main English-language news resource. "They have a lot to recover from."Hours after the attack Dogan appeared at the party congress to a standing ovation to go ahead with a planned resignation. His longtime aide, Lyutvi Mestan, is expected to replace him. Observers in Bulgaria believe Dogan will find a way to continue his political career while maintaining control over the party."Now he's this targeted leader, the spiritual head of his community – like a victim, a martyr," Dikov suggested.Bulgaria is due to hold parliamentary elections in the summer. The MRF was a junior partner in the previous Socialist-led cabinet before switching to the opposition, following elections in 2009.Yet discontent with the MRF has been growing, including among its supporters. "Even among ethnic Turks in Bulgaria he's considered pretty controversial," Dikov said. "He runs the organisation really tightly, there's a system of patronage and nepotism. It's plausible that there was somebody who hates this sort of 'tyrant' who just wanted to get rid of him, and was ready to sacrifice himself."The gun used by Enimehmedov, who could face six years' jail, could not have delivered a fatal shot, police said.Beyond the attack and brawl, Bulgarians are watching this case closely because Enimehmedov's brother, Metin, shot to fame in 2007 after winning the Bulgarian reality show Dance with Me. "He was a terrific dancer," Dikov said.BulgariaTurkeyEuropeMiriam Elderguardian.co.uk © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds
French minister condemns 'assassination' after co-founder of PKK and two other women shot in execution-style killingOn a busy road near Gare du Nord station in Paris, sandwiched between a Bengali grocery and a mobile phone shop, the green door of number 147 rue Lafayette did not stand out. There was no plaque to advertise the first-floor office of the Kurdistan information centre, where three female Kurdish activists had met on Wednesday afternoon.As their dead bodies were removed on stretchers on Thursday morning after what French authorities described as an execution-style killing, hundreds of Kurdish people gathered to demonstrate against what they called a sinister new chapter in a decades-long dirty war.The mysterious killings of the three activists, including Sakine Cansiz, a co-founder of the Kurdish Workers party (the PKK), have cast a shadow over peace talks between Ankara and Kurdish guerrillas.Police found the three bodies just before 2am on Thursday in the first-floor office. According to officials at the information centre, the women had been working alone at Wednesday lunchtime. Their door was fitted with a code and buzzer system. At the end of the afternoon, one member of the community had failed to reach the women by phone. He had gone to the office but did not have a key so could not enter. Later that night others went to the office and found blood seeping under the door into the corridor.The dead included Fidan Dogan, 28, of the Kurdistan National Congress (KNC), a European umbrella group of Kurdish organisations based in Brussels, and Leyla Soylemez, 25, a Kurdish activist in Paris. French reports said all three women had been shot in the head. Kurdish media said one woman was also shot in the abdomen. Local community members speculated that it appeared to have been a well-organised attack.By 4am, as news of the killings spread, Kurds began to gather outside the building expressing shock and outrage. Riot police guarded the door as blinds and net curtains were closed in the first-floor windows.Manuel Valls, the French interior minister, said at the scene that the women's "assassination" was intolerable. Police said the circumstances of and motive for the triple murder remained to be established.The only certainty was that killings would have an impact on the tentative peace process to end the decades-long conflict between the Turkish state and the PKK, which has seen at least 45,000 deaths since the 1980s. Turkish officials are holding talks with Abdullah Öcalan, the PKK leader jailed on the prison island of Imrali, to end the dispute.In the past Kurdish groups have suffered violent internal conflict as well as being targeted in extrajudicial killings by Turkish nationalists, often linked to the military or the so-called "deep state".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."In Paris 200 Kurdish protesters led a rally from the building where the women were found, carrying flags of Öcalan and shouting: "We are all the PKK".One 25-year-old protester, who said his parents were political activists, described a community in shock. He said: "There are so many Kurdish political refugees in France. If we can't feel safe here, where can we feel safe?"KurdsMiddle East and North AfricaFranceEuropeTurkeyConstanze LetschAngelique Chrisafisguardian.co.uk © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds
Sakine Cansiz, a PKK co-founder, among three women found dead in office building with bullet wounds to neck and chestThree Kurdish women activists have been found dead with bullet wounds to the neck and chest in the Kurdistan information centre in Paris.One of the women found in the early hours of Thursday was said to be Sakine Cansiz, a co-founder of the Kurdistan Workers' party (PKK).Officials in Turkey have been holding talks with the PKK's jailed leader, Abdullah Öcalan, to persuade the group to disarm. The decades-long conflict between the Turkish state and the PKK has killed about 40,000 people since the 1980s.Another victim of the Paris shootings, Fidan Dogan, was part of the Kurdistan National Congress, based in Brussels. The third was a young activist.Kurdish groups in Turkey said the murders could be part of an attempt to sabotage the 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 murders could have been an attempt to undermine the 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," he said.The bodies were discovered on the first floor of the building in Paris's 10th arrondissement just before 2am after one woman's partner, concerned he could not contact her, called police.The French interior minister, Manuel Valls, visited the scene and described the killings as intolerable and unacceptable. He said French anti-terror police would help with the inquiry.French police sources told reporters that the crime scene suggested "an execution", but the circumstances and motive remain unclear. "The only certainty for the moment is that this is a triple homicide," a French police spokesperson told TF1 news.The shooting is believed to have taken place late on Wednesday afternoon, but the bodies were not discovered until the early hours of Thursday morning.The building where the women were found is said to have housed an office of the Kurdistan information centre of Paris, though there was no door plaque identifying the building, situated between a Bengali grocer and a mobile phone shop on a busy street near Paris's Gare du Nord. The blinds and net curtains of the first-floor windows were closed and riot police guarded the door.At midday around 200 Kurdish protesters gathered outside the building with flags of Öcalan, shouting: "We are all the PKK." One 25-year-old protester, who said his parents were political activists, said: "The community is in shock. We all knew these women."There are so many Kurdish political refugees in France. If we can't feel safe here where can we feel safe? This killing was clearly well organised. Unfortunately this is a dirty war. The feeling among this crowd is that this killing was done to sabotage the peace talks."In Istanbul, Asiye Kolçak, of the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy party, said: "Sakine Cansiz was an activist and a revolutionary in the Kurdish women's struggle for 40 years. [Her murder] is an attack also on Kurdish women's struggle for freedom."She added: "We also hold the French government responsible for this, and we expect the French government to thoroughly investigate the killings, and bring the murderers to justice."KurdsFranceTurkeyEuropeMiddle East and North AfricaAngelique ChrisafisConstanze Letschguardian.co.uk © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds