Pro-Kurdish group irked by PKK strikes

Dec. 29, 2011 at 11:17 AM
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ANKARA, Turkey, Dec. 29 (UPI) -- The Turkish government massacred civilians when it killed 35 people in an airstrike targeting Kurdish militants near the Iraqi border, a lawmaker said.

The Turkish military in a Thursday statement said it monitored the Iraqi border with Turkey with surveillance drones before it hit targets thought to be members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party, known by its Turkish initials PKK.

"As a result of intelligence received from various sources and technical analyses carried out, we understood that terrorist groups, which also included senior leaders, gathered in the region and that they were readying to stage attacks on our outposts and bases along the border," the statement read.

Selahattin Demirtas, leader of the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party, said the attack was an "obvious massacre," Turkish newspaper Today's Zaman reports.

He maintained that among the 35 people reportedly killed in the attack where school-age children.

Demirtas added that any government that attacked its own civilians lost its legitimacy to lead, which the Turkish newspaper said was a reference to comments made by Syrian President Bashar Assad.

An anonymous security official told the newspaper there was no way of knowing whether those targeted in the attack where members of the PKK or people trying to smuggle goods across the border.

The military, in a statement, said "administrative and judicial investigations are under way" regarding the strike along the border.

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