Uludere border gate idea greeted with reservations
ISTANBUL- Hürriyet Daily News
The southeastern province of Şırnak’s Uludere region became the center of an air raid where 34 civilians were killed in a military operation in December 2011. DHA photoSenior politicians and local community members say they welcome the idea to open a new border gate between Northern Iraq and the southeastern village of Uludere, where 34 civilians were killed in a military air raid by the Turkish Army, although they do so with some reservations.
“This was one of the first things we heard from locals when we arrived in Uludere right after the massacre on Dec. 28, [2011.] They said if there was a border gate between Iraq and their village this massacre would not have happened,” Sezgin Tanrıkulu of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) told the Hürriyet Daily News in a phone interview yesterday.
Tanrıkulu also said smuggling has been a fact of life in the region for many years, but that a legal base was urgently needed.
Deputy Sebahat Tuncel from the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), however, said this was the government’s new maneuver “to deceive society.”
“Opening a border gate is not a response to the Roboski [Uludere] Massacre, what Kurdish society needs is justice not excuses,” Tuncel told the Daily News.
“After the massacre they [members of the government] tried many ways to distract people from their attempts to demand justice. They tried to make people forget what happened by paying compensation, but they failed,” Tuncel said.
The head of the Şırnak Chamber of Commerce Osman Geliş said this gate will not only contribute to the economic life of Şırnak, but also to social peace in the region.
“Minister of Commerce Hayati Yazıcı told us [of the border gate] nearly two months ago which thrilled locals in the region. These people need a way to survive, they need a door to trade,” he said.
İhsan Şener, the Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) deputy said the government was getting ready to open a new border gate between Northern Iraq and Uludere, daily Hürriyet reported yesterday.
“Some part of the land is forbidden to use for livestock by the military. Four thousand people cannot use the [land] for sheep running. They must find a way to earn their living. I spoke with the Minister of Customs and Trade; there is a preparation to open a border gate at that point. Between Uludere and Northern Iraq there will be a new border gate,” Şener was quoted as saying. The Ministry of the Interior also had declared that Uludere would become a border gate to Iraq, Minister of Customs and Trade Hayati Yazıcı said in January 2012.