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 Iranian Kurds protest Turkey air raid against Kurdish civilians

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Iranian Kurds protest Turkey air raid against Kurdish civilians  4.1.2012  

Locals gather in front of the bodies of people who were killed in a Turkish warplane attack in the Ortasu village of Uludere, in the Sirnak province, on December 29, 2011. Turkish warplanes killed 23 Kurdish villagers in an air strike near the Iraqi Kurdistan border. Photo: Getty Images. See Related Links

January 4, 2012

TEHRAN, — A group of Iranian Kurds have assembled in front of the Turkish Embassy in Tehran to protest the killing of Kurdish people in a airstrike by Turkish warplanes.

The Iranian Kurds staged a protest rally in front of Ankara's Embassy in the capital of Tehran On Tuesday.

On December 28, 2011, 35 civilian Kurds were killed by Turkish warplanes in the Kurdish village of Ortasu in the Turkey's southeastern province of Sirnak.

Survivors and witnesses of the deadly incident have questioned the military's claim that they had mistaken the civilians for PKK members, saying the attacks were intentional. Turkish government has rejected the allegation.

Turkey's military command says it carried out the airstrikes after a spy drone spotted a group moving toward its sensitive southeastern border in darkness last Wednesday night, in an area known to be used by PKK guerrillas.

The Turkish military began an operation in Iraqi Kurdistan in October after 24 Turkish troops were killed in an attack by the PKK in the town of Cukurca near the Iraqi Kurdistan border. The army killed 36 PKK members in the Kazan Valley of Hakkari province.

In November Turkey bombed the Sulaimaniyah and Erbil provinces of Iraq's autonomous northern Kurdish region, wounding a civilian, Kurdish officials said. Since August 17, 2011 Turkish jets repeatedly carried out air strikes against the Kurdish PKK separatist group's bases in Iraqi Kurdistan region, under justification of chasing elements of the anti-Ankara PKK, forcing large numbers of Kurdish citizens of those areas to desert their home villages, including an air raid that killed 7 Kurdish civilians in a village north of Kurdistan’s Sulaimaniyah city on August 21, 2011.

Since it was established in 1984, the PKK has been fighting the Turkish state, which still denies the constitutional existence of Kurds, to establish a Kurdish state in the south east of the country, sparking a conflict that has claimed some 45,000 lives.

But now its aim is the creation an autonomous Kurdish region and more cultural rights for ethnic Kurds who constitute the greatest minority in Turkey, numbering more than 20 million. A large Turkey's Kurdish community openly sympathise with the Kurdish PKK rebels.

PKK's demands included releasing PKK detainees, lifting the ban on education in Kurdish, paving the way for an autonomous democrat Kurdish system within Turkey, reducing pressure on the detained PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan, stopping military action against the Kurdish party and recomposing the Turkish constitution.

Turkey refuses to recognize its Kurdish population as a distinct minority. It has allowed some cultural rights such as limited broadcasts in the Kurdish language and private Kurdish language courses with the prodding of the European Union, but Kurdish politicians say the measures fall short of their expectations.

PKK is considered as 'terrorist' organization by Ankara, U.S., the PKK continues to be on the blacklist list in EU despite court ruling which overturned a decision to place the Kurdish rebel group PKK and its political wing on the European Union's terror list. 

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