Turkey's Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan
Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday demanded French President Francois Hollande explain why he had met one of three Kurdish militants shot dead in Paris this week.
The execution-style killings at an institute in central Paris on Thursday cast a shadow on a new initiative by Erdogan's government to launch a peace process to end a 28-year-old insurgency by the Kurdistan Workers Party's (PKK) that has claimed more than 40,000 lives.
Hollande told reporters he and other politicians knew one of the three women, who all had ties to the PKK, reports Reuters.
"How can you routinely meet with members of an organization labelled a terrorist group by the European Union and being sought by Interpol? What kind of politics is this?" Erdogan said in a speech to a business group broadcast live by CNN Turk.
"The French president should immediately disclose to the public why he met with members of this terrorist organization, what was discussed, to what end he was in communication with these terrorists," Erdogan said, adding that Turkey would pursue unspecified legal measures on the matter.
Among the murdered was Sakine Cansiz, a founding member of the PKK well-known to Kurdish nationalists and who was believed to be a key financier in Europe for the group, mainly based in northern Iraq.
Speaking to reporters on Thursday, Hollande said one of the women "was known to me and to many politicians because she came to meet us regularly."
Erdogan said the killings may be the result of PKK infighting or an attempt to derail Turkey's efforts to end the Kurdish conflict, which has implications for Syria, Iran and Iraq with their ethnic Kurdish minorities.
"The killings in Paris may have been an attempt aimed at sabotaging this initiative. It may also be score-settling within the ranks of the separatist terrorist group," he said.