General Staff rules out claims over Uludere killings

General Staff rules out claims over Uludere killings

General Staff rules out claims over Uludere killings

DHA Photo

The Turkish General Staff Prosecutor’s Office ruled out in a press statement on Feb. 18 recent claims that evidence related to the Uludere (Roboski) killings was spoiled, referring to the December 2011 military air strike in which 34 civilians were killings.

The claims are based on “only part of statements by a military officer who testified to the military prosecutor’s office as a suspect in the probe,” read a press release from the General Staff on Feb. 18.

It denied that the evidence was either spoiled or censored, also saying that the statements from now retired Colonel Aygün Eker were not new evidence, and the evidence was submitted to the Constitutional Court.

Eker, who was a military intelligence officer at the time of the Uludere killings, in the southeastern province of Şırnak, said he warned his superiors before the fatal air strike, according to a Jan. 16 report by daily Milliyet.

Milliyet also claimed that Eker’s testimony was not included in any army filing to the court.

The military had ruled that the killing of 34 civilians, mostly youths, in Uludere on Dec. 28, 2011, was an “inevitable mistake,” as the group was mistaken for militants belonging to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

Eker quoted his superior Servet Yörük, the 2nd Army Commander, as telling him that “the General Staff would not take such a decision if they did not have certain information.”

The families of the victims have demanded that the testimony of Eker be included in the case.

“We will demand this file from the military prosecutor’s office, which has been under a confidentiality order. We will submit Colonel Eker’s testimony to the Constitutional Court,” said the victims’ lawyer, Tahir Elçi.

The families applied to the Constitution Court in June 2014.