World Bulletin/News Desk
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said the judiciary will ask for an accounting from those responsible for the Uludere incident, in which a military air strike killed 34 smugglers in Şırnak's Uludere district, claiming that it mistook them for Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) members.
Speaking at an iftar (fast-breaking) dinner on Monday evening, the prime minister criticized those who “do politics over the death” of the Uludere residents.
“We don't do politics over dead bodies,” he said, adding that those who are responsible for the Uludere incident will be brought to account by the country's independent judiciary.
Thirty-four men and boys were traveling back to their villages in Şırnak's Uludere region from cities in northern Iraq after a day of trading in late 2011 when Turkish jets bombed the border-crossers, with the military later saying that the commanders mistook them for PKK members. The botched air strike sparked outrage across Turkey. The following legal imbroglio has fueled further anger to this day.
Erdoğan recently had an iftar dinner with family members of the Uludere victims in Şırnak, coming together with them for the first time since the incident. The dinner was both positive and confrontational, according to quotes from family members who spoke with the media. During the dinner, the prime minister insisted that the air strike had occurred without his knowledge. “I certainly did not give the order. It happened outside my knowledge. I didn't know about it,” he told the families in response to a question as to who had given the order to attack the civilians.
In his speech, Erdoğan also dwelled on a project by the İstanbul Metropolitan Municipality that concerns the establishment of a new park in İstanbul intended to be as large as New York's Central Park. The announcement for the park was recently made by İstanbul Mayor Kadir Topbaş, who said the new park will be an important one, just like Central Park, or similar parks in Europe.
Critical of Topbaş's comparison, Erdoğan said: “A Central Park does not befit İstanbul. An urban park befits İstanbul. There is no need for us to imitate others.”Güncelleme Tarihi: 31 Temmuz 2013, 10:45