News / Middle East

    Turkish Kurds Want Accountability for Mistaken Air Strike

    Pro-Kurdish demonstrators calling themselves 'Peace Mothers' (C) hold a sit-in protest against air strikes on the Iraqi border that killed 34 Turkish Kurd smugglers, in front of the office of Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan at the parliament in AnkaPro-Kurdish demonstrators calling themselves 'Peace Mothers' (C) hold a sit-in protest against air strikes on the Iraqi border that killed 34 Turkish Kurd smugglers, in front of the office of Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan at the parliament in Anka
    x
    Pro-Kurdish demonstrators calling themselves 'Peace Mothers' (C) hold a sit-in protest against air strikes on the Iraqi border that killed 34 Turkish Kurd smugglers, in front of the office of Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan at the parliament in Anka
    Pro-Kurdish demonstrators calling themselves 'Peace Mothers' (C) hold a sit-in protest against air strikes on the Iraqi border that killed 34 Turkish Kurd smugglers, in front of the office of Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan at the parliament in Anka
    Dorian Jones
    This Friday marks the first anniversary of the killing of 34 Kurdish smugglers by a mistaken Turkish air strike. The incident remains contentious in Turkey, with pressure both nationally and internationally on the government to punish those responsible.

    The 34 Turkish Kurds who were killed were smuggling contraband from neighboring Iraq. They were hit by an air strike from the Turkish military after being mistaken for members of the Kurdish rebel group, the PKK.

    The victims came from the village of Uludere, or Roboski in Kurdish. With around half of those killed being teenagers, it caused a national outcry. One year later, family members of those who died are still coming to terms with their loss.

    Demanding action

    One woman said her family's life has completely changed. She recalled that her son was cheerful, and she said that when she see his friends come back from the school, she watches them from a window and can't help but cry.

    The government, after initially defending the military action, offered compensation to the families and promised a full investigation. Criticism is growing both domestically and internationally, however, over the pace of the probes.

    Emma Sinclair Webb is a senior researcher for the U.S.-based Human Rights Watch [HRW].

    "The criminal investigation that is being undertaken, there seems to be no progress in that. We also do not know when the parliamentary sub commission that has been tasked into looking into this incident will conclude its own investigation," said Webb. "And it looks like there is huge reluctance at the top to see a open investigation into full circumstances that led to 34 villagers being killed."

    The government says that in the past, inquiries would not have happened with the Turkish military being above such scrutiny.

    But Turkey's opposition parties have become increasingly critical about the pace of the inquiries and are voicing growing doubts that that those responsible will ever be held to account.

    Growing concern

    Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party member Ertugrul Kurkcu is a part of the parliamentary investigation committee looking into the killings.

    "A primary roadblock in this investigation is the chief of staff because they do not deliver the information in their hands, but also this government because the government does not press the chief of staff," said Kurkcu.

    Political scientist Cengiz Aktar of Istanbul’s Bahcesehir University said the failure by Turkey's ruling party to fully investigate the killings and hold those responsible sends worrying messages.  

    "It's a very important issue, in terms of running the country, in terms of transparency, in terms of control of the military and it tells us the value of the second class citizens that the Kurds are in this country," said Aktar.

    According to Turkish media reports, the parliamentary inquiry into the killings could publish its findings early next year.

    Observers say with the Turkish military appearing not to be fully cooperating, though, and under no pressure to do so, expectations remain low in Turkey that the truth of what happened will come to light.

    You May Like

    Turkey, West in Standoff Over Syrian Refugees

    Turkish government refuses to admit refugees, the first in a wave of civilians fleeing offensive by Assad regime in northern Aleppo countryside

    Jailed American Testifies About Islamist Involvement in Mumbai Attacks

    David Headley testifies via video link that Pakistan-based Islamic terror group made two failed attempts to mount strikes in Mumbai in months prior to coordinated assault

    These Are the 10 Smartest US States

    A new report breaks down the nation's best and brightest

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Kurdman from: Amed
    December 28, 2012 11:26 PM
    It's sad that the Turkish government has not found who is beyond this brutal attack. It is evident for many that this massacre was carried out by government since the PM Erdogan has not even apologized for the innocent civilians.

    One word for the editor of the site and the author of the article is that "Turkish Kurd" is an inaccurate way of putting it. A Kurd cannot be Turkish at the same time. Unlike Iraq, Iran and Syria, the word Turkish refers to somebody of Turkish origin and blood.

    While you can say Iraqi Kurd or Iranian Kurd, the adjective here determines where that Kurd is from. These adjectives do bot necessarily refer to nationality or ethnic identity, but to geography!
    Therefore, you'd rather say "Turkey's Kurds" or "Kurds of Turkey" instead of saying "Turkish Kurds"...

    Thanks to Dorian Jones for his objective reporting on Kurds in Turkey.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.