Thirty-five villagers were killed and another was injured in a Turkish military air raid along the Iraqi border on the night of Dec. 28 in what a senior ruling party member declared “an operational fault.”
The assault, which utilized F-16s and unmanned aerial vehicles, was conducted near the Ortasu village of Uludere in the southeastern province of Şırnak, Doğan news agency reported yesterday.
The raid was “an operational mistake” and the ensuing investigation will determine those responsible, the deputy chairman of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), Hüseyin Çelik, told reporters yesterday in Ankara after a meeting of the party management.
“According to initial information, those [killed] people were not terrorists but smugglers. The operation was carried out on the presumption that they were PKK [outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party] terrorists. It was not intentional. Unfortunately, it was an operational mistake,” Çelik said, adding that the ultimate conclusion would be reached once the investigation was complete.
The cross-border air raid was launched to target the PKK following intelligence that terrorist groups had gathered in preparation for attacks on military outposts and bases at the border, the General Staff said in a written statement posted on its website yesterday.
Much as one can sympathise with the Turkish air force for making this terrible mistake, one can also wonder at the utter hypocrisy of the Turks for their rather limp expression of “sorrow” at the needless deaths, and compare this to their sturm und drang whenever Israel takes action, well within its rights in self-defence, against Palestinian terrorist groups and their useful idiot cohorts. One could also be reminded of other events when double standards have been at play in Turkey’s reactions to its own domestic terrorism problem compared to its reaction to Israel’s actions.
As a commenter remarked on the Hurriyet site:
Imagine if the Israelis had done this, there’d be demands for apologies,sanctions,court cases,bans,insults etc,they’d never believe it was a mistake. 35 innocents dead , my sympathies go to their families.
"Mistake"? I think there should be a UN investigation - too many questions are unanswered! Were they on the Iraqi border, or flying over Iraq chasing down Kurds? Muslims killing Muslims again?! We should have a full-blown report - is Judge Goldstone available? Where's the evidence this was a "mistake"? For all we know, the "smugglers" were smuggling in Kurds and wham, they got caught!