The Uludere Bombing: When Will Their Families Get Justice?

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Kurdish people hold pictures of victims killed in a Turkish air raid during a demonstration on May 26, 2012, in Istanbul. (Photo credit BULENT KILIC/AFP/GettyImages)

Kurdish people hold pictures of victims killed in a Turkish air raid during a demonstration on May 26, 2012, in Istanbul. (Photo credit BULENT KILIC/AFP/GettyImages)

On December 28, 2011, the Turkish military killed thirty-four of its own citizens, all civilians, most of them children in the Uludere/Qileban district, in Eastern Turkey.  The youngest was twelve.  A year has now passed and the families of these innocent people still wait for justice.

The Turkish government has offered compensation to the families of those killed.  The families, however, have refused to accept it until the truth behind the attack is uncovered and justice is done.

The families are still waiting.  On the anniversary of the Uludere bombings, Amnesty once again calls on the Turkish government to fully investigate these events and to bring those responsible to justice.

The record so far is not a promising one.  A Parliamentary inquiry was established in January, 2012, but, according to media reports, it has been denied access to vital military reports and, the Uludere sub-committee carrying out the investigation has already indicated that it would not attempt to determine individual responsibility for the bombing.

As Amnesty’s statement this week notes:

…[The] publication of the sub-committee’s report has repeatedly been postponed and that recent scheduled meetings have reportedly been cancelled…

Significant flaws in the criminal investigation have already been highlighted by Turkish human rights organisations and in by the European Union in its annual progress report on Turkey published in October this year. There was no investigation of the scene, witness statements were not taken and no military officials had been interrogated months after the incident.  To date no charges have been brought and the entire investigation has been conducted in secret, with even relatives of the victims been denied any additional information on its progress or findings to date…

Kurds carry the coffins of victims of a Turkish air raid

Kurds carry the coffins of victims of a Turkish air raid, outside Uludere Hospital in Uludere, Sirnak province, on December 30, 2011. (Photo credit: BULENT KILIC/AFP/Getty Images)

The families have already waited a year.  They should not have to wait longer.  Turkish authorities must act quickly to ensure a full and impartial investigation into the incident.  And it must bring those responsible to justice.

There must be justice for the innocent victims of Uludere.  Impunity for abuses in Turkey must end.

Stay informed!  Get involved!

Please  consider joining Amnesty – USA’s Turkey Regional Action Network by contacting Natsumi Ajiki.  You can follow our work on human rights in Turkey by  following us on our website and liking our page on Facebook.  Work with us to make a difference!

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