Tyrkiske fly tok feil av PKK-gerilja og smuglere og drepte 35 sivile og såret 20 under bombing på grensen til Irak 28. desember, bekrefter Ankara.
Huseyin Celik, spokesman for the governing Justice and Development Party, said yesterday that civilians were struck due to an “operational error” and that most of the dead were smugglers.
“This wasn’t intentional,” Celik said in televised comments from Ankara. “If there is a mistake, a shortcoming, it won’t and shouldn’t be covered up.”
The Turkish air force struck near the Iraqi border for about one hour starting at 9:37 p.m. on Dec. 28, the military said in a statement yesterday on its website. The bombing followed images, transmitted from drones, of a group crossing into Turkey, it said. The army had intelligence of a planned attack from the area, which is frequently used by the PKK, according to the statement. An investigation has begun, it said.
Disguised as Smugglers
PKK members have sometimes disguised themselves as smugglers and the Turkish army targets large groups crossing from northern Iraq, where the PKK is headquartered, Salih Akyurek, a former army colonel and researcher at the Wise Men Center for Strategic Studies in Ankara, said in a telephone interview.
Turkey’s National Security Council, a forum of military and civilian leaders, said that operations against the PKK will “continue with determination.”
“The situation is likely to get worse with the military response getting ramped up and the democratic opening remaining just a bunch of statements,” said Robert O’Daly, senior analyst at the Economist Intelligence Unit in London. “That leaves Kurds even more frustrated and convinced that the government isn’t serious about Kurdish rights.”