Kurds at ‘breaking point’ after killing of civilians

Kurds at ‘breaking point’ after killing of civilians

ANKARA – Hürriyet Daily News
Kurds at ‘breaking point’ after killing of civilians

Sezgin Tanrıkulu (R), deputy leader of the main opposition CHP, speaks to reporters in Şırnak. Next to him is Hasip Kaplan, a Peace and Democracy Party lawmaker. DHA photo

The government’s “dismissive attitude” after a botched air raid killed 35 civilians in Southeast Anatolia has led to a drastic shift of sentiment among peaceful, non-militant Kurds in the area, a senior Republican People’s Party (CHP) official has said.

“It was a disaster in which the most advanced of aircraft killed innocent civilians, but the government adopted a dismissive attitude. It is a breaking point. The government’s attitude profoundly hurt the people in the region,” CHP deputy chairman Sezgin Tanrıkulu told the Hürriyet Daily News yesterday.

Tanrıkulu, himself a Kurd, traveled to the area after the Dec. 28 bombing and accompanied CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu on the weekend when he visited the families of the victims in the village of Gülyazı to convey his condolences.

Tanrıkulu said the slain youths did not have any incendiary political inclinations and the settlement provided “village guards,” or government-armed men who support the army in the fight against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). 

“The identity of those killed is not of a nature that would have provoked a huge outburst of anger. There were village guard families there. The youths were living in the village and had not gone to the mountains [to join the PKK]. But the way the government reacted after the incident led to an outburst of anger,” he said.

‘Deliberate strike’

“The government underestimated the incident,” Tanrıkulu said. “The people now have the perception that no matter what they do, they are being killed brutally. They are left with the impression that the strike was deliberate.”

The CHP deputy chair said the government could still win over the region by taking political responsibility for the raid and determining those responsible for the misleading intelligence that prompted the bombing.
He declined to comment on how the incident might have unfolded, but argued that negligence could not be the only cause.

“I would not speculate but I think there are factors beyond negligence. When warplanes take off, the risk of an error must be zero. But it in this incident, it seems that the possibility of no error was close to zero,” he said.
The 35, who were smuggling diesel in from northern Iraq, were killed Dec. 28 when the military bombed the group after mistaking them for members of the PKK, which is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and the European Union.