PM, army chief meet over botched raid
ANKARA – Hürriyet Daily News
Chief of General Staff Gen. Necdet Özel arrives at the Prime Ministry for a meeting.
Chief of General Staff Gen. Necdet Özel briefed Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan yesterday over the Dec. 28 air strike at the Iraqi border as pressure grew on authorities to explain how the 35 slain civilians were mistaken for Kurdish militants.
Following the meeting, which lasted about an hour and a half, Erdoğan convened the Cabinet, where the issue was also expected to be high on the agenda. The ministers were likely to discuss compensation for victims’ families, who have been identified as youths returning from Iraq with smuggled goods. The meeting was still under way when the Hürriyet Daily News went to press. Officials have described the killing of the civilians as an “operational mistake,” while the military has said that administrative and judicial investigations are under way. Erdoğan has said authorities are examining four-hour footage of the incident. He angrily dismissed reports that the strike was launched on the basis of intelligence supplied by the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) which suggested that the men sneaking across the border were militants of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). MİT itself has also denied responsibility.
But daily Taraf, which reported the allegations, continued to report yesterday the air force had acted upon a series of MİT reports, which said that PKK militants were on the move inside Iraq towards the Turkish border.