ROBOSKİ MASSACRE – Prosecutor Confirms Villagers Could Be Discerned in UAV Footages

BIANET 7.8.2012 – The Diyarbakır Prosecutor’s Office confirmed that the villagers who died in last year’s Roboski massacre were clearly discernable in footages obtained from an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV.) 34 villagers had lost their lives in the deadly air strike that took place in the southeastern province of Şırnak.The Diyarbakır’s Prosecutor’s Office charged with investigating last year’s Roboski massacre confirmed a news story by Wall Street Journal that a U.S. unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) had also taken footages prior to the deadly air strike and that the villagers were clearly discernable in those images.

A total of 34 villagers had lost their lives in the district of Uludere (Roboski) in consequence of an air strike that took place in the southeastern province of Şırnak last year by the Iraqi border. The footages examined by the Diyarbakır’s Prosecutor’s Office show the villagers as they unload their goods from trucks and carry them onto their mules for cross-border trade with Iraq, according to a news report that appeared on the daily Taraf.

The U.S.-based Wall Street Journal had published a story claiming that an American controlled Predator (a UAV) had first spotted the convoy of villagers and that American officials had warned their Turkish counterparts about them.

General Staff repudiates Wall Street Journal’s report

The Prosecutor’s Office in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır requested the UAV footages from the Turkish General Staff following the publication of Wall Street Journal’s report. The General Staff complied with the request but also sent a note to the Diyarbakır Prosecutor’s Office claiming that the “Predator footages made no contribution to [footages obtained from the Turkish] UAVs.” U.S. officials could not ascertion whether the convoy consisted of civilians or members of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) but still chose to warn Turkish officials due to the fact that the presence of the convoy in that particular area drew their suspicion, according to Wall Street Journal’s story. The officials also complied with a request by their Turkish counterparts to withdraw the Predator from the area, Wall Street Journal had also said.”The news report does not reflect the truth. The [convoy] was first spotted by a UAV of the Turkish Armed Forces,” the Turkish General Staff had later responded, however.

Victims refuse compensation until justice arrives

Selahattin Demirtaş, the co-chair of the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP,) also issued a statement after he met with the villagers of Roboski at his party’s provincial headquarters.

Authorities are trying to cover up the massacre, Demirtaş said and called for those responsible for the incident to be brought to justice. Ubeydullah Encü who attended the meeting with Demirtaş on behalf of the victims’ families also denied recent claims they had accepted compensation from the government and said they were not going to take any compensation until justice has been served. (AS)