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 Kurdish PKK rebels call for 'uprising' after Turkish air strike on civilian Kurds

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Kurdish PKK rebels call for 'uprising' after Turkish air strike on civilian Kurds  30.12.2011    








Dr. Bahoz Erdal from the armed wing of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK)
December 30, 2011

ULUDERE, The Kurdish region of Turkey, — Kurdish separatists in Turkey on Friday called for an uprising after an air strike killed 35 Kurdish villagers near the Iraqi Kurdistan border in what the ruling party admitted could have been a mistake.

As locals prepared to bury their dead, the admission from Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's party did little to assuage their anger.

"Damn you, Erdogan ... One day you too will know our pain," shouted a group of protesters in Uludere, the main town in the region of the bombing.

And the call for a new "serhildan" (uprising) also served to ratchet up tensions further.

"We urge the people of Kurdistan... to react after this massacre and seek a settling of accounts through uprisings," Dr. Bahoz Erdal from the armed wing of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) said in a statement.

"This massacre was no accident ... It was organised and planned," added Erdal, whose organisation is labelled a terrorist group by Ankara and much of the West.

The PKK uses the term "uprising" for sweeping civil disobedience as well as clashes with the police.

Turkey's military command said it carried out an air strike on suspected PKK militants after a spy drone spotted a group moving toward its sensitive southeastern border under cover of darkness late Wednesday,www.ekurd.net in an area known to be used by militants.

Turkey's ruling party Thursday said the strike could have been a "blunder" that killed civilians and not Kurdish separatists and police fired tear gas to disperse stone-throwing youths in a pro-Kurdish demonstration in Istanbul.

"According to initial reports, these people were smugglers and not terrorists," said Huseyin Celik, vice-president of the Justice and Development Party (AKP).

"If it turns out to have been a mistake, a blunder, rest assured that this will not be covered up," he said, adding that it could have been an "operational accident" by the military.

The main pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) said the planes had bombed villagers from Kurdish majority southeastern Turkey [Northern Kurdistan] who were smuggling sugar and fuel across the border on mules and donkeys.

"It's clearly a massacre of civilians, of whom the oldest is 20," BDP leader Selahattin Demirtas said in a statement that called on Turkey's Kurdish population to respond "by democratic means."

Since it was established in 1984, the PKK has been fighting the Turkish state, which still denies the constitutional existence of Kurds, to establish a Kurdish state in the south east of the country, sparking a conflict that has claimed some 45,000 lives.

But now its aim is the creation an autonomous Kurdish region and more cultural rights for ethnic Kurds who constitute the greatest minority in Turkey, numbering more than 20 million. A large Turkey's Kurdish community openly sympathise with the Kurdish PKK rebels.

PKK's demands included releasing PKK detainees, lifting the ban on education in Kurdish, paving the way for an autonomous democrat Kurdish system within Turkey, reducing pressure on the detained PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan, stopping military action against the Kurdish party and recomposing the Turkish constitution.

Turkey refuses to recognize its Kurdish population as a distinct minority. It has allowed some cultural rights such as limited broadcasts in the Kurdish language and private Kurdish language courses with the prodding of the European Union, but Kurdish politicians say the measures fall short of their expectations.

The PKK is considered as 'terrorist' organization by Ankara, U.S., the PKK continues to be on the blacklist list in EU despite court ruling which overturned a decision to place the Kurdish rebel group PKK and its political wing on the European Union's terror list. 

The protest in Istanbul on Thursday called by the BDP drew 2,000 people in the city's Taksim Square.

Afterwards, several hundred youths shouting pro-PKK slogans threw stones at riot police, who responded with water cannon and tear gas, making several arrests.

Police also clashed with protesters in Diyarbakir and Sirnak, two mainly Kurdish towns in the southeast, firing tear gas and water cannon in response to demonstrators who threw stones and petrol bombs, local security officials said.

The pro-Kurdish Firat news agency released photos showing bodies wrapped in blankets, lying on the snow side by side, while television pictures showed angry and weeping villagers gathered around the bodies.

Locals used mules to carry the dead down from snowy mountain slopes in Uludere district, which lies about 20 kilometres (12 miles) from the Iraq border, local media reported.

Kitan Encu's eyes welled with tears as she recounted how she had to identify the bodies of Kurdish relatives killed in the strike.

"They openly massacred us. Why was this blood spilled? They must answer this question," said Encu, who lost 11 family members in the air raid.

"I saw the bodies to identify them. They were all burned, completely. They were in pieces," Encu said as she sat by the bedside of her 75-year-old mother in the State Hospital of Uludere.

"The oldest one was 20 years old, they were all students," the 33-year-old said.

Clashes between Kurdish rebels and the army have escalated in recent months.

The Turkish military launched an operation on militant bases inside northern Iraq in October after a PKK attack killed 24 soldiers in the border town of Cukurca, the army's biggest loss since 1993.

In November Turkey bombed the Sulaimaniyah and Erbil provinces of Iraq's autonomous northern Kurdish region, wounding a civilian, Kurdish officials said. Since August 17, Turkish jets repeatedly carried out air strikes against the Kurdish PKK separatist group's bases in Iraqi Kurdistan region, under justification of chasing elements of the anti-Ankara PKK, forcing large numbers of Kurdish citizens of those areas to desert their home villages, including an air raid that killed 7 Kurdish civilians in a village north of Kurdistan’s Sulaimaniyah city on August 21st.

Copyright © 2011, respective author or news agency, AFP | ekurd.net | Agencies
 

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