Thursday, February 16, 2012

Uludere Probe Continues

PHOTO from Milliyet

Parliament's commission for human rights is expected to issue a report in the coming days as to what exactly happened in Uludere on the night of Dec. 28 when 35 Kurdish smugglers were killed in strikes carried out by unmanned drones. The government and security officials soon announced that the strikes were a tragic mistake, but so far evidence has been far from forthcoming.

The report follows a visit by parliamentarians to the site of the tragedy, as well as interviews they conducted with local officials, including local military commanders, and villagers. Some parliamentarians, in particular CHP deputy Levent Gok, have already spoken to the media about their findings. According to Gok, the strikes were conducted without the knowledge of local commanders on the ground or the local mayor, meaning the strikes were carried out by Ankara.

According to one local gendarme commander with whom parliamentarians spoke, forces were ordered to pull back one day before the incident, though apparently the band of smugglers was sighted at a military outpost from which one local gendarme officer reported that, if asked, he could have told officials higher up in the command chain not to strike.

Yesterday the military provided parliamentarians access to footage from the Heron drones responsible for the strikes that Gok and others report show the smugglers were clearly not PKK militants since there were more mules than people and they did not try to escape once attacked.

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