MİT issues 2nd denial of intelligence blunder

MİT issues 2nd denial of intelligence blunder

MİT issues 2nd denial of intelligence blunder

Special Forces members stand guard at the entrance of the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) headquarters in Ankara. DAILY NEWS photo, Selahattin SÖNMEZ

The National Intelligence Organization (MİT) has issued a second detailed statement strongly denying reports it supplied the faulty intelligence prompting the bombing of civilians mistaken for militants of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

Contrary to media reports, “MİT shared no intelligence on groups, locations, numbers, dates or routes that may have been related to the deaths of the 35 citizens,” a press release said yesterday, pointing out Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had already explained this Dec. 30, 2011, two days after the botched strike on the Iraqi border.

Without mentioning him by name, the statement said Mehmet Baransu of the daily Taraf continued to report MİT was responsible and sought to back up his “fabrications,” citing “reports on [PKK] activity at the border leaked to him, which had nothing to do with the operation that led to the death of 35 people and included some outdated ones.”

Only one of the intelligence reports Taraf cited pertained to the Uludere area, but it did not contain any information about an expected infiltration attempt, the statement said.

Taraf’s claims that MİT had confirmed the people advancing to the border were PKK militants when it was contacted shortly before the strike after suspicions emerged that the group might be civilians have been dubbed “sheer lies and fantasy.”

President Abdullah Gül, meanwhile, said he had received detailed information regarding the bombing in talks with the MİT chief, the prime minister and the chief of General Staff the previous day.

“A rigorous investigation is being conducted by both the Turkish Armed Forces and prosecutors into what mistake led to the incident,” he said in the northwestern city of Bolu. “The court [in Şırnak] has decided on secrecy. This is crucial for the accuracy of the investigation.”

BDP studies international options

The Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), which argues the bombing was deliberate, submitted a motion for a parliamentary investigation and said it was looking into whether any international platforms were available to take the issue on.

“It is obvious the government is responsible, also with respect to international law. We are studying everything, from the International Criminal Court to the U.N. Human Rights Commission,” BDP Co-Chair Hasip Kaplan said.

He denounced the blackout imposed on the investigation as a move to “cover up the evidence and protect those who are guilty.” MİT’s insistence it did not have any knowledge of the incident is “horrible,” he said.

The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) also raised misgivings the judicial secrecy ruling would serve to cover up the truth.

Decrying double standards, CHP Deputy Chairman Sezgin Tanrıkulu argued the authorities were trying to steer attention away from the botched raid, charging that the contradictory procedures were “a clear indication of how far the judiciary has come in engineering the agenda under government supervision.”