Not all operations done with PM’s knowledge, Erdoğan tells families of Uludere victims
ANKARA – Anadolu Agency
Families of the victims of the 2011 Uludere massacre met with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in the southeastern province of Şırnak on July 26. AA photoPrime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has informed the families of victims of the Uludere massacre that not all military operations are conducted "with the prime minister's knowledge," in an attempt to quell long-held speculation that he had intimate knowledge of the operation.
The Prime Minister's Office issued a statement on July 30, four days after Erdoğan visited victims' families in the southeastern province of Şırnak. “During the meeting, responding to the question of whether ‘such an operation can be carried out without the prime minister’s orders,’ it was indicated that not all operations are executed with the prime minister’s knowledge; the units dealing with the fight against terrorism take the adequate steps with the authorities provided to them by the law,” the statement said. The army killed 34 villagers along the Turkish-Iraqi border after allegedly mistaking them for outlawed Kurdish militants in December 2011.
“Unfounded scenarios do not reflect the content of the meeting. Our prime minister listened to the families and repeated his publicly known views on the incident during the meeting, which took place in an intimate atmosphere,” the statement added.
Six relatives of the 34 victims attended the meeting, which was held after an iftar on the apron of Şırnak’s new airport. The relatives told reporters that they were pleased to meet the prime minister.
Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş also said Erdoğan told the families during the meeting that he was not the one who had ordered the strike. “A just proceeding will reveal who gave the orders for the strike. If he says so, then they must pave the way for the proceeding. [His statements] mean that he knows who gave the orders,” Demirtaş said a day after the meeting.
The Prime Minister’s Office also said legal proceedings into the attack were still continuing. “It remains very important to avoid speculation that can influence the legal process,” the statement also said.
On Dec. 28, 2011, 34 civilian villagers were killed in the air strike in Şırnak’s Uludere district when they were allegedly mistaken for outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militants as they smuggled goods from northern Iraq into Turkey.
The government came under fire after the approval of a report drafted by a Parliament sub-commission that cleared officials of any responsibility for the attack.
The parliamentary report stated that there were no intentional actions leading up to the incident and pointed to a "lack of coordination" between the military and the civilian administrations as the cause for the massacre.
The families, who are seeking a formal apology and compensation for the attack, were outraged by the report, prompting their lawyers to threaten to carry the case to the European Court of Human Rights.