Turkey says will pay reparations to
families of slain Kurds
Turkey won't apologize for deadly raid on civilian
ISTANBUL,— Turkey will pay reparations to
the families of Kurdish villagers killed in air
strikes near the Iraqi Kurdistan border, but will
not officially apologise, Deputy Prime Minister
Bulent Arinc said Monday.
"The reparations will be paid in a couple of days,"
Arinc said in televised remarks after a cabinet
meeting. However, the government would not
"officially" apologise for the killings, Arinc said.
"It would be a very negative expectation (that we)
Arinc said the killings had not been intentional,
but a probe of possible negligence was underway.
"It is absolutely out of question that the incident
was intentional. However, although it was not
intentional, examinations are ongoing about any
possible negligence," he said.
On Wednesday night, Turkish air strikes
Kurdish smugglers, most of them less than 20 years
old, near the Iraqi border.
Turkey's military command said it carried out the
air strike after a spy drone spotted a group moving
toward its sensitive southeastern border under cover
of darkness late Wednesday,www.ekurd.net
in an area known to be used by militants.
The main pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP)
said the planes had bombed Kurdish villagers from
Kurdish southeastern Turkey [northern Kurdistan] who
were smuggling sugar and fuel across the border on
mules and donkeys.
"The dead citizens are civilians but we have to know
that the region is where (the army) hold cross
border operations. The region is a place where
terrorist actions and terrorist groupings are
intense," Arinc said.
He added that the army had received reports that a
group of almost 50 people were walking with mules
who could be carrying weapons.
Arinc said the air strikes were carried out after
the group did not stop despite soldiers firing
flares and artillery.
Investigations into the incident have been opened by
both prosecutors and the military, he said.
Witness accounts said that soldiers had blocked the
routes smugglers normally use to get back to their
villages, and said that authorities were aware that
the routes have been used to smuggle gas, cigarettes
and sugar from northern Iraq for years.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday
expressed regret for what he called an "unfortunate
and distressing" incident.
"Images transmitted by drones showed a group of 40
people in the area, it was impossible to say who
they were," he told journalists in Istanbul.
"Afterwards it was determined they were smugglers
transporting cigarettes and fuel on mules."
The military also offered its condolences on Friday
in a rare gesture that appeared to acknowledge its
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
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
But now its aim is the creation an autonomous
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
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
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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