Sakine Cansiz was a co-founder of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and one of the PKK’s European representatives. Brussels-based Kurdistan National Congress’ (KNK) Paris Fidan Dogan was the head of the center, and Leyla Soylemez was an activist. The three were last seen on 10 January 2013 at the center, according to Pakistan Today
Turkey’s Ambassador to Paris, Tahsin Burcuoglu, stated the police were forced to break into the scene of the crime as the doors had been locked by the attackers. The murders apparently took place late during the night on 9 January 2013, but the bodies were not found until early morning on 10 January 2013, according to the Hurriyet Daily
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who was visiting Senegal, stated it was "too soon to comment" but suggested that incident could be a "provocation" to jinx breakthroughs reached in ongoing peace talks between Ankara and jailed PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan, according to the News International.
French Interior Minister Manuel Valls visited the center and is considering the issue to be of high priority. The number of guards at the Paris Embassy have been increased for security. Meanwhile, hundreds of people held a rally to protest the killings chanting “We are all PKK!,”according to Gulf Daily
The murders timing is very significant because it occurred shortly after the Turkish government resumed negotiations with Abdullah Ocalan, the jailed PKK leader, about disarming his group in exchange for greater rights for the country's Kurdish minority. The PKK is a Kurdish organization which has been fighting an armed struggle against the Turkish state for an autonomous Kurdistan and cultural and political rights for the Kurds in Turkey since 1984. The group was founded on 27 November 1978 in the village of Fis, near Lice and was led by Abdullah Öcalan. The PKK's ideology was originally a fusion of revolutionary socialism and Kurdish nationalism, although since his imprisonment, Ocalan has abandoned orthodox Marxism. The PKK is listed as a terrorist organization internationally by a number of states and organizations, including United Nations, NATO, the United States and the European Union.