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Turkey

European Rights Court Finds Turkey Guilty of Bombing Kurdish Villages

By Uzay Bulut 14/11/2013
The Strasbourg court awarded an additional 5,700 euros to the 38 plaintiffs who lost relatives or were injured, and rejected Turkish findings blaming the militant Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) for the bombings. Photo: AFP
The Strasbourg court awarded an additional 5,700 euros to the 38 plaintiffs who lost relatives or were injured, and rejected Turkish findings blaming the militant Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) for the bombings. Photo: AFP

ANKARA, Turkey – The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) on Tuesday held Turkey responsible for the deaths of 38 people in a 1994 attack on two Kurdish villages, and ordered Ankara to pay €2.3 million in compensation.

The Strasbourg court awarded an additional 5,700 euros to the 38 plaintiffs who lost relatives or were injured, and rejected Turkish findings blaming the militant Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) for the bombings.

The court also found that Turkish investigators of the incident were not independent and had tried to withhold findings from the victims.

“The prosecutors’ conclusions demonstrated that none of them had an open mind as to what could have happened in the plaintiffs’ villages; as was generally the case in southeast Turkey at the time, they hastily blamed the killings on the PKK without any basis,” the ECHR said in a statement.

On March 26, 1994 Turkish military aircraft bombed the villages of Kumcati and Kocagili in the Kurdish province of Sirnak, killing dozens of the inhabitants, injuring others and destroying most of the property and livestock.

The villagers said they heard the sound of aircraft prior to the attack but did not expect the bombing; planes and helicopters had often been heard in the area conducting reconnaissance and bombing missions against PKK fighters in the nearby mountains, but the villages had never been attacked before.

As the majority of the men from the villages were out working in the fields, most of the victims were children, women or the elderly, the court statement said.

It noted that the bombing had been ordered and carried out without the slightest concern for human life by the pilots or by their superiors, who then had tried to cover-up the incident by refusing to hand over flight logs.

In the aftermath of the killings, villagers had to personally collect the bodily remains of the victims and take them to nearby villages for burial. Some, even had to place the bodies in plastic bags for burial in a mass grave. Three people who were critically injured had to be taken to hospital on tractors by neighboring villagers, the court declared.

It considered that the anguish and distress suffered by the plaintiffs had been sufficiently severe to be categorized as inhuman and degrading.

With the investigation still pending in Turkey, the ECHR indicated that the Turkish government should carry out further investigations into the incident, with the help of the flight logs, in order to identify and punish those responsible.

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Arjun | 14/11/2013
Finally some one blamed turkey for all it's done to the kurds..! Let's hope this leads to something and those responcible be punished!
Russel Check | 14/11/2013
How many times is Turkey going to lose these cases in ECHR and other courts before they realize that either they deal with the atrocities committed by the stat and military against Kurdish populations the past 30 years or we will drag them through the mud until they do.
Russel Check | 14/11/2013
Arjun what do you mean finally? do you know how many times they have lost similar cases? try thousands.
KPatriot | 15/11/2013
Yet another prove that Turkey will never give up our lands without a fight. Or if we the Kurds force them to give it up, somehow, still a fight, but maybe in a clever and smoother way? That would be the best option, I believe. Problem in Turkey is, not only the politicians, even many average Turks don't look at Kurds as human beings. They can happily sit at home watching TV the military and police brutally cracking down on Kurdish protests etc, even coldly killing civilians (including kids and women) in the process, while not even shedding a tear, all under the pretext of "defending our nation" and the pathetic "fighting terrorism" card. Turkey must get smacked, the people as well, they need to realize what pain and misery is before they change attitude. ANy other way seems unrealisitc as the entire nation (with the nation I don't count Kurds in) have been corrupted and brainwashed to such an extent it's irreversable. They have to feel pain and misery to become human again. Sad, but true.
TurkishMuslim | 17/11/2013
The kemalist regime in that time indeed did bad things to minority's in Turkey. But today the kemalist generals are all in prison. The Muslims have defeated the kemalist regime. And now the Kurds and Turks are going the good way. The way of brothership and islam.
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