Opposition demands explanation of Şırnak air raid

Opposition demands explanation of Şırnak air raid

Opposition demands explanation of Şırnak air raid

BDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş decried the killings as 'massacre.' DHA photo

Turkey's opposition parties have demanded an official explanation from the government into an air raid that killed up to 35 people in the southeastern province of Şırnak late last night.

Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) deputy Sebahat Tuncel said she was expecting an explanation from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and said the General Staff's statement effectively tried to justify the killings. 

"The General Staff's statement ... is no different than saying 'you deserve to be killed if you wander in the mountains,'" she said.  

Republican People's Party (CHP) group deputy chairwoman Emine Ülker Tarhan said it was “upsetting” for civilians to die in the struggle against terrorism. "I need to see an official explanation before I can comment further.” 

CHP deputy chair Gökhan Günaydın said people should understand a country's need to secure its borders but called for care when conducting military operations. “The smugglers were acting against the law, but being killed in an aerial bombardment was not what they deserved,” he said. 

The military reportedly bombed the group, which was believed to have been smuggling diesel from northern Iraq into Turkey, after it mistook them for members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey and much of the international community.

Opposition demands explanation of Şırnak air raid

Store owners close shops to protest
air raid.
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CHP Tunceli deputy Hüseyin Aygün questioned the intelligence activities in the area, asking: "How can villagers known to have been smuggling goods across the border for years turn into terrorists all of as sudden? Intelligence-gathering activities should be questioned."  

Aygün also questioned the validity of a parliamentary bill that gives permission to the military to conduct operations outside Turkey's borders.  

"We should discuss how useful these extra-territorial operations are," he said.    

Answering questions from journalists as he arrived at AKP headquarters for a party meeting, Customs and Trade Minister Hayati Yazıcı said he did not have detailed information about the killing of the 35 and consequently could not comment on the issue.  

The BDP, meanwhile, called for a demonstration at 4 p.m. in Istanbul's Taksim square.