Turkish military prosecutors dismiss investigation into Uludere massacre

ANKARA – Hürriyet – 7-1-2014 – The General Staff’s Military Prosecutor’s Office has dismissed the investigation into the Uludere/Roboski massacre, in which 34 civilians were killed in an air strike, a relative of victims announced via Twitter Jan. 7.

“The investigation into Uludere has finalized. It was ruled to dismiss the charges. It was said the Turkish Armed Forces were not at fault,” Ferhat Encü, who lost two brothers and other nine relatives in the airstrike, said.

The Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy head Sezgin Tanrıkulu confirmed the ruling to daily Hürriyet. “I have spoken with Ferhat Encü. The investigation was dismissed. The decision will probably be announced soon,” Tanrıkulu said. Thirty-four civilian villagers were killed in the air strike near the Turkish-Iraqi border in the Uludere/Roboski district of Şırnak, allegedly mistaken for outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militants as they smuggled goods into Turkey.

The government is widely criticized for the approval of a report drafted by a sub-commission of the Human Rights Inquiry Commission that cleared the army for the massacre.

The parliamentary report issued on March 2013 after 15 months of inquiry concluded no evidence wasfound to prove the attack was intentional. It eventually decided “poor coordination” between the army and intelligence as the main reason behind the deaths.

Last June, a civilian court in Diyarbakır conducting the investigation issued a controversial decision of non-jurisdiction on the case, transferring it to military prosecutors.“In the statement I made a year-and-a-half ago, I said, ‘the Diyarbakır court will rule on non-jurisdiction, the military court will dismiss the investigation.’ We now see all that happening,” Tanrıkulu said.

CHP’s Kurdish deputy head said Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was to be held responsible of the situation at the first degree, while Chief of General Staff Necdet Özel should be counted as responsible at the second degree. “They are acquitting each other,” Tanrıkulu said. Encü attested via his Twitter having spoken with his lawyers who checked and confirmed that the probe had been dismissed.

“The killer state has been acquitted once again. What can be said? We have been fighting for two years, howling for conscience. Does anyone hear?” Encü asked.

‘Erdoğan will be tried for war crimes’

Citing a decision from the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), Tanrıkulu argued Erdoğan may even be tried for war crimes in an international tribunal.

“The ECHR said such an operation was even contrary to laws of war. I am claiming, Prime Minister Erdoğan will sooner or later be tried at the International Criminal Court for this incident as someone who has committed crimes against humanity,” Tanrıkulu said. Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş accused Erdoğan of knowing who gave the instructions for the airstrike. Erdoğan has met with families of the Uludere massacre victims during a fast-breaking dinner in July, where he reportedly said he was not the one who had ordered the strike. The dismissal of the investigation also comes amid an ongoing Kurdish peace process which seeks to bring a solution to the four-decades long conflict.