NGOs say air raid on civilians is ‘massacre’

NGOs say air raid on civilians is ‘massacre’

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
NGOs say air raid on civilians is ‘massacre’

Relatives and friends carry the coffins of victims of a botched air raid in Uludere. Two NGOs argue in a report that the killing of 35 civilians was a ‘massacre.’ AFP photo

A preliminary survey report by two non-governmental organizations (NGOs) condemned the Turkish Armed Forces airstrike that killed 35 civilians in the southeastern province of Şırnak’s Uludere district Dec. 28 and called the incident a “massacre.”

“Smuggling activities by civilians were known to the security forces,” said the report by Turkey’s Human Rights Association (İHD) and the Association for Human Rights and Solidarity for Oppressed Peoples (Mazlum-Der). “The killed civilians were mostly youngsters aged between 12 and 18, and smuggling activities were tolerated for years in the region,” the delegation of NGO lawyers said in the report.
The report also objected to the army announcement that said the raid occurred in Sinat-Haftanin, Iraq, on Dec. 30. One of the two areas bombed was within Turkey’s boundaries and the other was on the border, according to the report.

The report included statements of a wounded eyewitness, 19-year-old Haci Encü. Encü survived the raid by hiding in a creek with his two friends, he said in the report.

“We did not inform the gendarmerie because they knew we have been smuggling for a long time. We were two groups when the bombing started. We tried to escape, but the soldiers closed the path, and that’s why we came together,” Encü said.

NGOs also issued a call to United Nations Human Rights Committee (HRC) to send a delegation to investigate the process after the strike.