Families of air strike victims visit Parliament

Families of air strike victims visit Parliament

Families of air strike victims visit Parliament

A police officer in Parliament presents red carnations to the families of 34 people killed in a botched air raid. The families visited Parliament yesterday asking for a detailed probe. AA photo

Villagers who lost children in a botched air raid in Uludere in late December visited Parliament yesterday and issued a fresh appeal to the government to identify those responsible for the strike, which claimed 34 lives.

Some of the villagers took the floor at the weekly parliamentary group meeting of the Peace and Democracy Party’s (BDP), where emotions ran high and some lawmakers were seen shedding tears.
“You’re calling on humanity for Palestine or Syria. What’s wrong with the Kurdish people, why don’t you do the same for us? You cannot buy us. Kurdish lives are not that cheap,” said Felek Encü, whose 13-year-old son Erkan perished in the Dec. 28 raid at the Iraqi border. “I’m demanding justice for my son. Where are the murderers? You know, everybody knows,” she said, urging parents not to send their sons to the military.

Ferhat Encü, whose 17-year-old brother Serkan also died in the strike, said they were counting on Parliament to find out those responsible.

The chair of the Human Rights Commission, Ayhan Sefer Üstün of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), and BDP deputy Sırrı Sakık welcomed the families at Parliament’s gate, while policemen gave them carnations. The villagers entered the BDP hall carrying photos of their dead sons, while the party’s co-chair Gültan Kışanak was speaking at the rostrum. They were welcomed by the BDP deputies with applause.

The 34 victims, most of them teenagers, were mistaken for militants of the outlawed Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK), but were actually local villagers involved in the smuggling of small goods from Iraq – a widespread practice in the impoverished region.

Kışanak said that “murderers” have not been found for 104 days and decried the situation as “the silence of abettors.”

“A cross-border operation in which aircrafts bombed another country’s soil cannot be conducted unless the government allows it, everybody is aware of that. Obviously the Prime Ministry and the General Staff carried out this operation together,” she said.

After the BDP group meeting, the families also visited representatives of the other three parties in Parliament and the Human Rights Commission. Üstün, the Commission chairman, sought to appease the families. He told them that the prosecutor in Diyarbakır handling the investigation was working hard on the issue and that the Commission would hand over to him documents from its own probe into the strike.