Government to compensate raid victims’ families

Government to compensate raid victims’ families

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Government to compensate raid victims’ families

Deputy Prime Minister Beşir Atalay speaks in Parliament on last week’s air raid. AA photo

The Turkish government has announced plans to pay compensation to the families of 35 civilians killed in a Dec. 28 air on the Iraqi border, but said an official apology should not be expected.

“Of course, the government has obligations to the surviving family members. The first step is compensation payments, which will take place in the next few days,” Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç said after a Cabinet meeting Jan. 2. “Besides that, we will take further steps, using some special means, to ensure that we embrace the closest relatives of the dead, if not to stop the pain,” Arınç added without elaborating. The amount of the compensation will be determined on a case-by-case basis, taking into account the number of family the victims left behind, Deputy Prime Minister Beşir Atalay said yesterday, adding that the payments were yet to be determined.

In further remarks, Arınç voiced profound regret over the deaths “as if we lost someone close to us” but dismissed the prospect of a formal apology. “I believe that a personal apology to the relatives could be possible if the investigation establishes that some kind of negligence or fault was involved in the incident, but a formal apology, like one declared from a podium, would be a very negative expectation,” he said.

Arınç said the authorities now had no doubt that the targeting of the civilians was not intentional as all findings ahead of the strike indicated that “an operation was necessary.” None of the dead had any links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), he said, but raised questions as to why the group continued to advance toward the border despite the flare signals and artillery fire that preceded the air strike. Investigators are assessing all details, including the possibility that “the group might have been directed [to the route they were using] or fell into a trap.”

Meanwhile, Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy Osman Korutürk filed a written parliamentary question, asking Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan about the source of the intelligence that led to the raid. Korutürk also asked which country owned the unmanned aerial vehicle that provided the images of the group.

Erdoğan is required by law to answer the questions in writing within 15 days.