Interview with Ferhat Encü: “We must raise our voice,” never forgetting Roboski
Tomorrow marks the 1 year anniversary of the Turkish military operation that resulted in a massacre in Roboskî (Uludere) which killed 34 civilian Kurds. To this day no one has been tried for this crime nor has there been a complete, transparent investigation into what really happened on the evening of December 28, 2011.
The villagers from Roboskî and Bujeh were crossing the border from South Kurdistan, smuggling tea and sugar into Turkey as their region is poor and people have no other option to provide for their families. The younger ones amongst them were trying to save up money for their education.
It was known by Turkish soldiers patrolling the area that the villagers were regularly crossing the border to and from South Kurdistan to Turkey, which they have never attempted to prevent before. It was also known by the soldiers that these civilians were unarmed, and that children were amongst them.
According to reports by NGOs who were on the scene a few hours after the massacre, the attack was carried out after a drone had searched the area and detected movement where (according to Turkey) the PKK moves around too. Without looking more into the information from the drone, the Turkish military carried out the attack. The massacre lasted for an hour. 34 were killed, 17 of whom were children and many from the same extended family, the Encü family.
Human Rights Watch issued a statement today noting:
The Turkish government, parliament, and Diyarbakır prosecutor have so far failed the families of the victims in their search for justice.
If Turkey does not put those responsible for the massacre on trial, Turkey could be brought in front of the European Court of Human Rights for violations of the right to life, says Human Rights Watch.
Alliance for Kurdish Rights conducted an interview with Ferhat Encü who lost his 17 year old brother, Serhat Encü, in the massacre and who himself has experienced discrimination and persecution by the Turkish state for his last name.
It is the anniversary of the Roboskî massacre. The people of Roboskî has suffered every day since the massacre. What are your thoughts and do you have any hopes that justice will be achieved and the perpetrators of the massacre put on trial?
It has been 1 year since the massacre in Roboskî but still no trial has been set and the ones responsible for the massacres have not been put on trial. The approach of AKP is to ignore the legitimite demands of the people about this crime.
AKP is trying to make people forget the massacre and diminish the attention around it. The comment made by Erdogan that every abortion is an Uludere (“her kürtaj bir uluderedir,” meaning that an abortion is comparable to the Roboskî massacre) is the state’s way of belittling the massacre.
AKP does not listen to our messages of peace and dialogue but focuses the attention on its own interpretation of what happened on the night of the massacre.
This massacre has been decided, planned and executed by the Turkish state. The prime minister and other members of the government each have their version of and explanation about the massacre that contradict each other.
I have no faith in the government to do anything.
If you listen to the last speech made by Prime Minister Erdogan, you can hear him justify the massacre and making it insignificant. He said: “There were terrorists among them. Not all were civilians. It is not a situation that demands an apology.”
With this statement he has ruined the last bit of hope.
Now, one year after the massacre, how is the people of Roboskî carrying on with their lives?
The people of Roboskî is living a hard life. Because of the massacre the people there is suffering from psychological problems and they do not receive the support and treatment they need. They want to have the chance to move on and to learn how to live with the pain after their great loss.
In the village they do not celebrate or have weddings; there is a deep mistrust towards the government, a hatred.
What can Kurds and the outside world do to bring justice to the families of the victims?
All Kurds must unite and stand together against the perpetrators of these massacres. All four parts of Kurdistan must be supportive and help in every way they can, let it be through art, theater, etc.
We must not forget the families of the victims but support them and make sure no massacre will happen again and that Turkey will not get a chance to do it again.
We must raise our voice in the entire world, not jut Kurds but everyone, in order to prevent another massacre. We must make sure Roboskî will never be forgotten. We must take advantage of our democratic rights to fight against the perpetrators. Every opportunity we have to do something for Roboskî, we must take. This is our duty: to not forget Roboskî.
My hope for 2013 is that the world will not see another massacre. My hope is that those responsible for the massacre are put on trial and that all Kurds will live in peace and democracy.