Gendarmerie cracks down on protest by relatives of Uludere massacre victims
ŞIRNAK – Doğan News Agency
Serhat Encü, 17, was transferred to the hospital after being hit by a gas canister on his head. DHA photoTension broke out on Jan. 15 in the southeastern province of Şırnak, as families of the Uludere/Roboski massacre victims protested the dismissal of the investigation into the military’s airstrike, which cost the lives of 34 civilians.
The families decided to walk from the Ortasu (Roboski in Kurdish) village to the Turkish Iraqi border in protest at the ruling, after receiving the formal letter informing them about the military prosecutor’s Dec. 7 ruling.
The group was also protesting against the construction of a new safe road to the millitary post in the district.
However, tension erupted between gendarmerie forces and the victims’ relatives after officers blocked their way, resorting to tear gas to disperse the villagers.
One of the villagers, Serhat Encü, who lost 11 family members in the military airstrike, was seriously wounded after being hit by a gas canister on his ear. Several other protesters were also injured, Doğan News Agency reported.
The strike, carried out near the Turkish-Iraqi border in the district of Uludere in the Şırnak province on Dec. 28, 2011, killed 34 civilian villagers after they were allegedly mistaken for outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militants while smuggling goods into Turkey.
The General Staff’s Military Prosecutor’s Office’s dismissal of the probe has caused controversy, as it described the strike as an “ineluctable mistake.”
Lawyers representing the villagers are preparing their appeals and announced that they would ultimately apply to the European Court of Human Rights if their individual complaint to Turkey’s Constitutional Court bears no fruit.