CAFER – Roboski, justice, peace

Roboski, justice, peaceA horrible massacre took place near the Roboski (Ortasu) village in Uludere, IIrnak province, on Dec. 28, 2011.

Roboski was just an ordinary village where the villagers used to make a living by reliance on smuggling items across the border this was the case with other border villages as well. Since the massacre, it has become the symbol for pursuit of justice in Turkey.

Let us recall the incident briefly. Thirty-eight Kurdish villagers who crossed the Iraqi border that day took some contraband, including fuel oil and cigarettes on their way back, warplanes attacked them at night.

During the bombardment, between 9:39 pm and 10:24 pm, 34 Kurdish villagers — including 19 kids — were brutally murdered.Thousands of people rely on smuggling in the border areas of the southeast and eastern parts of Turkey as a way to make a living.

Staff members in military outposts are mostly aware of these activities the state overlooks these activities because it is hard to prevent it and it is unable to offer alternatives to the people in the region. That day, the military outpost in the village was aware of the passage of some villagers to Iraq, so they were expecting the return of the villagers.

It is even argued that the district governor of Uludere was also aware of it.After the incident, the government made a statement saying it was a mistake.

We still remember statements by Recep Tayyip ErdoIan, who was serving as prime minister back then. ErdoIan said: andldquoThe planes bombarded the villagers because they thought they were terrorists.

That was a terror zone compensation was paid to the relatives of the victims. It is not necessary to make a big deal out of this.

The terror organization [Kurdistan Workersand#39 Party (PKK)] is exploiting this incident.andrdquoThe relatives of the victims did not take the money the government offered.

They stressed that they wanted justice first. And they stressed that the culprits should be prosecuted and punished.

However, the civilian prosecutors and courts were not allowed to investigate the incident. The military prosecutor, on the other hand, sealed the file, concluding that the military made no mistake and that therefore it could not be held responsible.

The relatives of the victims took the case to the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) for a remedy.A commission of inquiry was set up at Parliament to investigate the incident, but the commission concluded that these people were killed by error Despite this finding, the commission did not disclose the parties responsible for this error The state did not even offer an apology to the villagers.

Instead, it relied on an insulting solution: It told the people to take the money and remain silent.It appears that an intelligence error was the reason for this tragedy.

It also seems that there was lack of communication between the security units because the outpost in the village was aware of when the villagers would return. There was a mistake, true but this is a mistake led to 34 civilians being horribly killed.

Why would not those who responsible for this mistake be held accountable?Thatand#39s the problem, because there are arguments suggesting that then-Prime Minister ErdoIan was responsible for this. It was argued that he ordered the bombing based on an intelligence report from the National Intelligence Organization (MIT).

We do not know whether this allegation is true. What is obvious is that he is politically responsible for this and that he has avoided holding those who are responsible accountable.

The people of Roboski have asked whether it is possible to attain peace without holding the culprits accountable. This is the most critical test of sincerity in the Kurdish settlement process because it is not possible to create lasting peace without addressing the pains of the people and their pursuit of justice.

Siding with peace requires a thorough investigation into the Roboski massacre and an attempt to hold the culprits responsible. Peace or a solution referred to by those who fail to do so means nothing.

2014 has been a tough year I wish for 2015 to be a year of peace, democracy, freedom and justice for all of humanity. I wish you a happy new year.

SOURCE: Today’s Zaman