US provided intelligence over deadly Turkey airstrike on civilians: report

Turkish warplanes killed 34 smugglers and other villagers in an operation after they were mistaken for PKK militants in Iraq in late December.

US provided intelligence over deadly Turkey airstrike on civilians: report


World Bulletin / News Desk

It was a US Predator drone that spotted a caravan of 38 men and mules along the Turkish-Iraqi border in December, which eventually resulted in the death of 34 in a botched airstrike by the Turkish military, the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday.

The report quoted US Defense Department officials as saying it was a US Predator that spotted the men and pack animals and that American officers alerted Turkey. “The US drone flew away after reporting the caravan's movements, leaving the Turkish military to decide whether to attack, according to an internal assessment by the US Defense Department, described to The Wall Street Journal,” the report said.

“The Turks made the call,” a senior US defense official was quoted as saying. “It wasn't an American decision.”

Turkish warplanes killed 34 smugglers and other villagers in an operation after they were mistaken for Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) militants in Iraq in late December. They were killed as they were crossing the border into Turkey from northern Iraq, having purchased goods on the other side for resale in Turkey. The 34 were all from different villages in Uludere, or Roboski in Kurdish, a district in the predominantly Kurdish southeastern province of Şırnak.

The Turkish military acknowledged that it had mistaken the group of border-crossers for PKK militants. The killings sparked country-wide protests and prompted official inquiries. Several investigations are still under way into what exactly went wrong that resulted in the tragic mix-up.

The conflict with the PKK has claimed tens of thousands of lives and cost Turkey hundreds of billions of dollars. The group is labeled a terrorist organization by the European Union and the United States, which has supplied Predator drones to Turkey to assist its fight in the rugged southeast.

 

 

Güncelleme Tarihi: 16 Mayıs 2012, 13:25

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