Military industry report details raid

Military industry report details raid

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Military industry report details raid

Members of the Parliament also visited Ortasu village for further investigations. AA photo

A report by military industry experts on the footage of the botched Dec. 28, 2011, air raid at the Iraqi border has confirmed the images were clear enough to identify the victims as villagers involved in illicit border trade, the Hürriyet Daily News has learned.

Experts from the military electronics company Aselsan last month watched the footage, taken by an unmanned surveillance aircraft, together with members of Parliament’s Human Rights Commission, and then penned their observations in a 10-page report.

The report detailed the movements along the border ahead and during the raid, mentioning people, mules and vehicles, often in their exact numbers. It said the group of people was seen “waiting without moving” at 9:03 p.m. and a bomb exploded at 9:39 p.m. It further said a resident of the Gülyazı village, Ubeydullah Öncü, phoned the local military station at 10:21 p.m. and asked for the bombing to be stopped. Following the strike, six people from the village were seen running to the site, which they reached at 11:02 p.m., according to the report.

“The report converges fully with the observations we shared publicly after the watching the footage. Taking into account the Aselsan report, the failure to identify the people going from Turkey to Iraq as smugglers emerges as a grave mistake,” Levent Gök, a commission member from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), said.

Commission members from the CHP and the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) had said after watching the footage that it was impossible to mistake the villagers for militants of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

Commission chairman Ayhan Sefer Üstün, however, chided his colleagues for making premature statements and said the images were sometimes blurred.

The botched raid killed 34 smugglers, mostly teenagers.