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Turkey yet to investigate killing of Kurds

Dec. 27, 2012 at 1:41 PM   |   Comments

ANKARA, Turkey, Dec. 27 (UPI) -- The Turkish government has yet to open an investigation into an airstrike that killed 34 Kurdish men and boys, Human Rights Watch said Thursday.

The failure to investigate the incident, which happened on Dec. 28, 2011, highlights a failure by Turkey to honor some of its most obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights to safeguard the right to life, Human Rights Watch said in a release.

"One year on, no one has been held account for ordering the F-16 jets to drop the bombs that killed the 34 villagers" said Emma Sinclair-Webb, senior researcher for Turkey at Human Rights Watch. "The Turkish government, Parliament and Diyarbakir prosecutor have so far failed the families of the victims in their search for justice."

The attack targeted a group of 37 villagers from Ortasu and Gilyazi, killing 34 people, 17 of whom were children. The villagers were smuggling diesel fuel, tea, and sugar, carried on mules, and were discovered by a drone surveying the area.

Turkey's Parliament set up a special subcommittee to investigate the incident in January, but the subcommittee has yet to conclude its inquiry or release any findings, the HRW said.

"The lack of progress in an entire year on completing any investigation of the Uludere incident is very troubling because it is consistent with the government's overall reluctance to account to the public for the government's wrongdoing," Sinclair-Webb said. "Holding state authorities who killed civilians accountable is crucial to upholding democracy and the rule of law."

© 2012 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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