Turkey's Roboski villagers threaten to
flee to Iraq's Kurdistan if justice not served
April 10, 2012
Sarwat Anju and two of his children who recent fled
to the Kurdistan Region from Roboski village. Photo:
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Kurdistan region 'Iraq', — Residents of Roboski
village in eastern Turkey are still waiting for the
government to name and try those in the army
responsible for an air strike that killed 34 Kurdish
villagers on the border with Iraqi Kurdistan last
The families of the victims believe the government
is not serious about finding the criminals and
threaten that, unless the government puts the
culprits on trial, they will desert their villages
and immigrate to the Kurdistan Region.
Sarwat Anju, who survived the air strike with two of
his sons, says that he faced interrogation by the
Turkish government a few days after the attack.
Last week, Anju and two of his children illegally
crossed the Kurdish border and arrived in Zahko
“I have not slept for the past three months, fearing
for my life,” Anju said.
Anju wasn’t able to bring his family to Kurdistan.
He says that he and his children had to walk for
eight hours to reach the Kurdistan territories.
He has left behind his wife and three other
Following the attack, Anju spoke to the media about
the tragic experience, angering Turkish authorities.
“So, at any opportunity, they have arrested me for
no reason,” he says.
Asia Sarwat, a junior high school student, wants to
stay in Kurdistan and study in the Kurdish language.
“I don’t want to study in Turkish anymore,” she
Anju, who has earned his living from smuggling goods
between Turkey and Iraq for the past 15 years, says,
“My father and grandfather did the same job; there
are no other jobs in the area.”
Rudaw has learned that around 1,500 families are
considering leaving Roboski, Hudana, Bezhah and
Zivana villages to seek settlement in other parts of
“Most people are waiting for spring to come and the
snow to melt so they can immigrate to other parts of
Kurdistan,” says Anju.
Another resident of Roboski, who has moved to
Kurdistan and asked to remain anonymous, says, “We
are still waiting for the Turkish government to
punish the criminals; if the government remains
we will leave our villages and come to Kurdistan. We
will not be silent about our demands even when we
move to the Kurdistan Region.”
The Turkish government has tried to compensate
families of the victims by offering US$12,000 to
each family. But the villagers insist on an open
trial of the perpetrators.
“We will not allow you to kill our sons and
compensate their blood with money,” said one
Hashim Anju, mayor of Roboski, recently told Rudaw,
“The people of Roboski want the government to try
the killers of their sons in court.”
The mayor maintained that the villagers’ only demand
is to see those responsible for the bombing incident
in court and punished. Otherwise, they are
determined to leave their villages and migrate.
Rashid Ant, father of one of the victims, says, “The
Turkish government doesn’t want to reveal the
killers of our sons, and we are powerless toward the
Ant says that some villagers believe that they
should give the authorities another chance to bring
the perpetrators to justice before they take the
collective decision to abandon their villages.
“Others believe we should give the government two
more months. If the government does not respond to
our demands during this time, we will all leave the
village together,” he said.
Sidiq Sulaiman, a resident of Roboski, says that
several families have already left the area and
crossed the border into the Kurdistan Region.
“Families of some of the other victims entered the
Kurdistan Region through the Ibrahim Khalil border
point to apply for residency.”
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