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

Video Indiana Controversy Points to Divergent Notions of Religious Freedom

Arkansas, North Carolina have approved similar laws that gay-marriage opponents say help maintain their beliefs in face of changing culture More

UNICEF Denies North Korean Measles Outbreak

Agency dismisses Russian media report after government, WHO assurances More

Turkey Seen Taking Harder Stance Against Militant Kurds

Stance comes as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is being seen as moving closer to generals More

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.
Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedomi
X
Jerome Socolovsky
April 01, 2015 1:41 AM
Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedom

Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Nigerians Welcome Buhari's Return to Power

Crowds of jubilant Nigerians nationwide have celebrated the return to power of former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari. The retired army general won this year's presidential election with more than 2 million votes more than incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan. Buhari's supporters hope he can strengthen the country's economy and security once he takes office in late May. Zlatica Hoke has this story.
Video

Video Report: State of Black America a 'Tale of Two Nations'

The National Urban League has described this year's "State of Black America" report as a "tale of two nations." The group's annual report, released earlier this month (March), found that under an equality index African Americans had only 72% parity compared to whites in areas such as education, economics, health, social justice and civic engagement. It’s a gap that educators and students at Brooklyn’s Medgar Evers College are looking to close. VOA's Daniela Schrier reports from the school.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Gamma Ray Observatory to Open Soon in Mexico

American and Mexican scientists have completed construction of the world's largest gamma ray observatory, situated high in central Mexico’s Sierra Negra Mountain. The observatory's huge array of water-based detectors will soon start discovering secrets about black holes and supernovas. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials Underway in West Africa

Ebola has claimed the lives of more than 10,000 people in West Africa. Since last summer, researchers have rushed to get anti-Ebola vaccines into clinical trials. While it's too early to say that any of the potential vaccines work, some scientists say they are seeing strong results from some of the studies. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More