Şırnak air raid being subjected to review, General Staff says
Locals gather in front of a truck carrying the bodies of people who were killed in a warplane attack in the Ortasu village of Uludere. AFP photoAn air raid that killed 35 civilians in the southeastern province of Şırnak is now under a judicial review, the Turkish General Staff said in a statement posted on its website today.
The statement also said an administrative inspection had been launched into the killings.
The target zone of the air strike was an area frequented by members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), who use a mule track there to smuggle heavy weaponry, ammunition and explosives into Turkey, the General Staff's statement said.
A group of people was spotted with unmanned air vehicles yesterday evening moving toward the Turkish border from Iraq, the statement said, adding that a decision was made to conduct an air raid against the group at 9:37 p.m.
The PKK is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and the European Union.
BDP decries 'massacre'
Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş said the killings were “clearly a massacre.”
Demirtaş also repeated Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s earlier words to Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad, saying, “An administration that massacres its own people has no legitimacy.”
A group of 50 smugglers crossed the border into Turkey and were stopped and redirected by soldiers from a nearby outpost right before they reached their village, Demirtaş said.
“The air strike happened on that route they were directed to,” he said.
“Those killed were young people who made a living off of smuggling. There were people studying for university exams among them and the soldiers at the outpost knew it,” Demirtaş said.
Demirtaş said media outlets and the government were staying silent in the face of the killings and added that the BDP had declared a three-day period of mourning.
Store owners in the eastern province of Hakkari’s Yüksekova district closed their shops in protest at the killings.
It is common for storeowners in Turkey's southeast to close and shutter their stores when displaying anger at the government's acts or policies.