Military given order to hit in Uludere: Turkish prime minister

Military given order to hit in Uludere: Turkish prime minister

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Military given order to hit in Uludere: Turkish prime minister

34 civilians were killed in the botched air raid in Uludere on Dec 28. AFP photo

A botched air raid that killed 34 civilians in Southeast Anatolia last year was ordered within the limits of authorization that the government has given the military, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said yesterday while refraining from disclosing who exactly ordered the bombing.

“On the issue of instructions, the system functioned as it usually functions. We have given the security forces a certain authorization. And the security forces used it in line with their area of struggle. They used it then and they will continue to use it. This is natural. There is terror in that region,” Erdoğan told reporters before his departure to Pakistan.

The controversy over how the strike at the Iraqi border in the district of Uludere unfolded was rekindled by a recent Wall Street Journal report that said intelligence from a U.S. Predator drone was made available to the Turkish Army before the jets took off. The raid killed 34 smugglers, mostly teenagers, who were mistaken for members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) while sneaking into Turkey after having loaded their mules with small goods in northern Iraq.

Erdoğan insisted that the strike was launched upon images taken by Turkey’s own drones, which were also flying over the area. “We first received images from our [drones]. And the operation was carried out on the basis of the images they sent,” he said.

The Predator’s footage was 31 minutes long and covered only the Iraqi side of the border, Erdoğan said, adding that he had not personally seen those images. He insisted the WSJ report was a “fabrication” targeting Barack Obama’s administration ahead of U.S. presidential elections.

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