Following the release of 16 terrorists in February, France faces a new test with the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) after the detention time for the PKK members arrested on Tuesday in connection with the attacks on Turkish locals and businesses in France expires.
Reports indicate that following the arrest of eight PKK members in Paris, Bordeaux and Marseilles on Tuesday, an additional four were taken into custody. Two people were previously arrested in April. French judicial sources note that the existing evidence proves most of the 14 people under arrest took part in the attacks; therefore they will most probably not be released under the legislation in effect. However the European courts do not always consider legal rules vis-à-vis the PKK. A Paris court previously surprised even the prosecutors who carried out the investigation when it decided to release 16 PKK members, including leading figures in the organization such as Rıza Altun, Nedim Seven and Canan Kurtyılmaz. Speaking to Today's Zaman, the French judicial sources recall that 14 people arrested in connection with the attacks on Turkish businesses were brought to the prosecutor's office specializing in terrorism-related matters.
During the interrogation carried out by prosecutors competent on combating terrorism, some of the suspects reportedly denied their involvement in the attacks. However DNA tests proved they did take part in the criminal activities, which under prosecution further revealed that the attack on a locale belonging to Turks in Bordeaux was carried out as part of a preplanned plot with external instructions. Reports indicate that some PKK members confessed their involvement in the said crimes.
Members of the terrorist organization carried out attacks on Turkish businesses and social facilities based in Bordeaux, Marseilles and Toulouse in March. The interrogation of the 14 captured suspects is carried out independently of the PKK case relating to the operations of February. While the previous case proceeds with regard to the organization’s financial resources, the new dossier involves accusations of murder attempts. The two cases are, however, interrelated. The latest attacks provide the prosecutors with important evidence to appreciate the nature of the PKK.
French sources prefer to remain cautious recalling that “unexpected things may happen with regard to the PKK issue; it may attract political considerations.” Last February a Paris court released leading figures of the terror organization, Altun, Seven and Kurtyılmaz, after the expiration of the legal four-day detention period. Surprised by the release decision, prosecutors underlined that the decision for their release was unfounded and accused politicians of involvement. Authorities from the French Justice Ministry who spoke to Today’s Zaman stress that the PKK’s disclosure of its connection with the French Intelligence Agency (DST) had the greatest impact on the release decision.
Turks living in France are concerned about attacks on Turkish businesses and social groups in various French cities last March. Murat Başkent, chair of the Bordeaux branch of the Turkish Federation in France, said they were glad the perpetrators had been seized. Recalling that a store, three social houses and federation building were attacked in Bordeaux alone, Başkent noted that Turks had become concerned about the growing violence.
ALİ İHSAN AYDIN