Roboski: A part of the peace proces in Turkey


A parliamentary Human Rights Examination Commission in Turkey has voted in favour of a report put forward by a subcommision about the Roboski Massacre.

The report has caused public outcry among families of the 34 victims, human rights organisations, political parties and Kurds in general because no one is held responsible for the massacre that is described as “not an intentional act.”

Turkey’s ruling party, AKP, continues to insist that it was an “unfortunate operational accident” and Turkish military claims in the same manner that it had made a mistake based on information collected from American drones that spotted the group of Kurds who were smuggling goods across the border between Iraq and Turkey. The military thought it was members of PKK and therefore bombed the area.

But critics of the report say that the military has not presented any proof of how they could have mistaken the Kurdish men and boys for PKK members as experts who have seen pictures taken by drones deny that such a confusion between civilians and Kurdish fighters could be made.

In a press release Veli Encü, a spokesman for the Roboski familie, says that the report avoids putting the blame on anyone and that it is as if no one have seen the tears of the Roboski mothers. He also mentions the importance of the massacre for the general situation between the Turkish government and the Kurdish people:

As the Roboski family we would like to express our support for the peace proces. But we want to underline that Roboski is a part of the peace process. The perpetrators must be brought to justice.

Members of the pro-Kurdish party BDP have also voiced their criticism of the report. Deputy Ertuğrul Kürkçü says that the subcommission came to “the worst possible conclusion after one year and a half.”

[…] they didn’t mind blaming the people of Roboski as if they were the reason for the massacre. The report didn’t deem it a crime to bomb 34 innocent citizens –which would require 34 life-sentences, with two F-16 planes of the Turkish Armed Forces. Only guilty party they pointed their fingers at were the villagers of Roboski whose only crime was to carry goods back and forth on the border that separated their historical land in two.

In an interview with Alliance for Kurdish Rights, Ferhat Encü, related to victims of the massacre, told us that:

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.

The Turkish government fails to understand the growing importance of the Roboski massacre. Roboski is no longer “just” a massacre where the perpetrator must be found and held responsible for his criminal actions. No, Roboski is becoming a measure stick for the peace proces between the Kurdish people and the Turkish government.

Achieving peace does not magically happen over night with a change in the Turkish law or Erdogan shaking hands with Öcalan. Peace can only be obtained step by step and one of these steps is to investigate the Roboski massacre in a respectful manner and with no political agenda.

It has been 1,5 years since the massacre took place and the fact that it took so long for a commission to conclude that it was an accident and that no one can be held accountable is a bleak indication of Turkey’s intentions when it comes to the peace process.