Opposition deputies say Uludere inquiry points to Ankara orders
ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
A group of deputies from each party represented in Parliament visited Gülyazı village, the site of the air raid that killed 34 civilians. The deputies also visited the victims’ graves on Jan 5 and left flowers. AA photo42 days after the botched air raid which left 34 villagers dead in the southeastern province of Uludere, opposition members of the parliamentary commission investigating the incident have said that the intelligence and the order for the strike appear to have come from Ankara, angering the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan met Feb. 7 with the Human Rights Commission chair, the AKP’s Ayhan Sefer Üstün, after media reports quoted local officials in Uludere as telling the commission that they were neither informed about nor involved in the Dec. 28 operation, which killed 34 civilians mistaken for militants of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
Claims on Ankara
Speaking after the meeting, Üstün warned that the inquiry should not be “undermined,” raising objections to the media coverage of statements collected by the commission. “I cannot speak for the Prime Minister, but I am bothered by the claims that the orders came from Ankara,” said Üstün.
Members of the commission conducted an on-site investigation at Uludere over the weekend and interviewed local administrators and military officials.
“Commission members are under the impression that the orders for the military operation came from Ankara. I am of the same opinion,” Malik Ecder Özdemir, a commission member from Republican People’s Party (CHP), told the Hürriyet Daily News.
The commander of the regiment at the border village of Gülyazı, Hüseyin Onur Güney, was removed from his post as a “scapegoat” to calm down the villagers, who believe that local authorities are responsible, Özdemir said.
“The orders for this cross-border operation were given either by the prime minister, or someone authorized by him,” said Özdemir, stating that the commission would meet with the General Staff and the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) for further inquiries.
Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) member Atilla Kaya said he believed the orders came from the Chief of Staff, but that the government had the political responsibility.
Local authorities, meanwhile, have told the commission to question the pilots in order to find out who gave the orders, Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) member Ertuğrul Kürkçü said.
Meanwhile, to commemorate the 40th day of the deaths, the BDP held a religious ceremony in several provinces, including in Gülyazı village, where the victims are from.Joining the ceremony in Gülyazı, BDP co-Chair Selahattin Demirtaş said they will not stop investigating the case.