ERBIL, Kurdistan Region - A women's rights activist from Turkey with ideological ties to the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) was shot multiple times and killed on Tuesday in the center of Sulaimani city, raising alarm amongst the Kurdish community from Turkey about the increasing number of such assassinations.
Nagihan Akarsel, member of the Jineoloji research academy - which seeks to empower women in northern and eastern Syria - was shot dead by unidentified assailants in front of her house in Sulaimani’s Bakhtiyari, reported PKK-affiliated Firat news agency (ANF).
Sulaimani police spokesperson Sarkawt Ahmad told Rudaw’s Rawchi Hassan that Akarsel’s body has been transferred to Sulaimani’s forensics department and an investigation into the incident has been initiated.
Akrasel was born in Turkey’s Konya and has been living in Sulaimani for the past few years, laying the down the foundation of Jineology, which translates to women’s studies. She was also the editor-in-chief of the organization’s magazine, ANF added.
Sulaimani's internal security forces (Asayish) announced the arrest of a number of suspects for Akarsel's death late Tuesday.
An unidentified drone targeted a vehicle carrying suspected PKK members near the town of Mawat in Sulaimani province on Tuesday afternoon.
Shaho Othman, mayor of Chwarta, told Rudaw’s Horvan Rafaat that “a PKK member was injured inside the car.”
At least two other assassinations targeting individuals reportedly linked to the PKK were killed in the Kurdistan Region earlier this year.
Zaki Chalabi, head of the Mesopotamia Workers Organization, was killed in May when unidentified assailants on a motorcycle opened fire at a restaurant he owned.
Suhail Khurshid, a cadre of the PKK-affiliated Freedom Movement, was shot dead by unknown assailants in front of his house in Kifri late August. The Freedom Movement told Rudaw that Khurshid “was killed by Turkey.”
Turkey has not released any statement regarding the latest incident though it rarely makes comments.
The PKK is an armed Kurdish group fighting for the increased rights of Kurds in Turkey and named a terrorist organization by Ankara. Turkish forces regularly pursue the PKK, as well as individuals believed to be affiliated to the group, through the use of drones, airstrikes, and targeted assassinations within the Kurdistan Region’s borders where the group has its headquarters.