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RIGHTS > Ministry’s Uludere raid report points finger at Ankara

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News

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This file photo shows the relatives of Uludere victims during the funeral ceremony. DHA photo

This file photo shows the relatives of Uludere victims during the funeral ceremony. DHA photo

The Interior Ministry has submitted to Parliament its report on the botched Dec. 28 air strike in Uludere that killed 34 civilians, confirming that the local authorities were unaware of the strike and implicitly putting the responsibility on Ankara, Hürriyet Daily News has learned.

The 200-page classified report was read out to members of Parliament’s Human Rights Sub-Commission, but they were not allowed to have copies.

The report said the order for the strike had not come from the local authorities and that the 23rd Gendarmerie border brigade stationed in the area had not called for the raid.

It also alluded that the order for the strike had come directly from Ankara, saying that “higher commands appear to be responsible.” The report said that the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) had sent no information to prompt the operation that day, even though it had filed seven intelligence reports about increased militant activity at the border earlier in the month.

According to the report, UAV images of the area at the time would not have been sufficient to order a strike and they should have been backed up with other intelligence before giving the go-ahead for the bombing. The report also called for an investigation into several officers for failing to provide prompt assistance to those injured in the operation.

Discussing the report at the commission, Malik Ecder Özdemir of the Republican People’s Party (CHP) said the commanders who authorized the bombing must be summoned immediately. Fellow CHP deputy Levent Gök suggested the report confirmed that the analysis of the UAV footage was mistaken.

Ertuğrul Kürkçü of the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) said the report called for an investigation into officials above the local authorities.

The Commission decided to write to the Chief of Staff to request the intelligence documents that prompted the bombing.

March/09/2012

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