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

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants 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.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs