CHP leader promises to shed light on Roboski massacre

CHP leader promises to shed light on Roboski massacre
Update: 04 August 2022 23:42
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Turkey’s main opposition CHP leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu visited Sirnak’s Roboski village where 34 Kurdish villagers were killed by Turkish air strikes eleven years ago

Pain still lingers on, and mothers demand justice, said main opposition leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu, as he visited the southeastern village of Roboski, Sirnak, where airstrikes bombed and killed 34 villagers, mostly teenagers, who had been involved in smuggling gasoline and cigarettes in 2011.

Turkish Air Forces later stated that the group were mistakenly thought to be members of the PKK (Kurdistan Workers' Party,) an armed group fighting Turkey.

“I am here to promise that I will bring this event to light. …Until then, we can not possibly ease mothers’ pain” Kemal Kilicdaroglu said, as he previously announced that he would embark on a quest for “helallesme” (the tradition of forgiving each other in Islam before grand departures, especially before death) in various regions of Turkey.

On the night of 28 December 2011, Turkish Armed Forces received information about activities in the region from the US intelligence services provided by unmanned aerial vehicles flying over the terrain.

Pentagon officials were quoted as saying that American drones initially spotted the group, but after alerting the Turks and offering to conduct more detailed surveillance they were denied and "Turkish officers instead directed the Americans who were remotely piloting the drone to fly it somewhere else."

Even though the prosecutors were able to confirm that the villagers were clearly discernible from the footage of the unmanned aerial vehicle taken before the airstrike, they found negligence rather than deliberate intent, and transferred the investigation to the military prosecutor.

On January 2014, military prosecutors decided to not press charges against the military personnel, citing that no investigation was necessary for suspected military staff as "they committed a major error but performed their duties within the given orders."

Three of the survivors were called to prosecution to testify on passport law abuse, illegal border-crossing and smuggling charges.