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Turkish newspaper's Europe offices attacked

(IPI/IFEX) - VIENNA, Feb 16, 2012 – The International Press Institute (IPI) today condemned attacks yesterday on the offices of Turkish-language newspaper Zaman in Paris and in the German city of Cologne allegedly carried out by supporters of the banned Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

Zaman reported that a group of nearly 15 PKK supporters wearing masks entered its Paris office and threatened employees, broke windows, and damaged furniture, televisions and computers.

AFP reported that arsonists torched Zaman's Cologne headquarters and that police said they arrested two people, aged 17 and 22, in the attack. AFP said that a cafe frequented by Cologne's Turkish community was also attacked yesterday.

A Cologne police spokesperson told AFP that assailants shouted “typical PKK slogans” in both attacks in the city, and AFP reported that police had not ruled out a link to the PKK, which the European Union, the United States and Turkey consider a terrorist organization.

IPI Press Freedom Manager Anthony Mills said: “We condemn these attacks and we hope that German and French authorities conduct swift, transparent and complete investigations that hold all of the perpetrators accountable. We also reiterate that it is absolutely unacceptable to resort to violence against journalists to express political disagreement with them.”

Yesterday was the 13th anniversary of the arrest of PKK leader and founder Abdullah Öcalan, who remains incarcerated in Turkey.

A Zaman spokesperson said that the Paris attack was the third on its office there in the last six months. The newspaper also accused PKK supporters of carrying out prior attacks on its offices in London, Vienna and Zurich.
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