Families of the Victims of Roboski Massacre Fined by Turkish Court


On December 28th, 2011, F-16 warplanes launched an attack on villagers in Roboski village of the Kurdish district of Şırnak in Turkey. On their way back to their village, a group of people, who were transporting cheap fuel into Turkey from Iraq, were exposed to bombardment by four F-16 fighter jets.

34 members of the group, including 17 children, were killed as a result of the airstrike. Some were as young as 12.

And today, 1,5 years after the massacre, the families of the victims of the Roboski massacre have been punished with an administrative fine of 3 thousand Turkish Liras and the specially authorized prosecutor has called the families to testify on the grounds that they have performed a commemoration to mark the 500th day of the massacre.

The families of the 34 victims have been fined by the Turkish court due to border violation during the commemorative ceremony.  The families walked to the border between Turkey and Federal Kurdistan to mark the 500th day of the massacre and left flowers on the border in memory of their loved ones who died in the massacre.

Having been exposed to an investigation, the families have also been called to the chief public prosecutor’s office of their province to testify.

Veli Encu, who has lost his family members, said that an investigation has been launched against everyone who walked to the border in order to leave flowers on the place where their family members were killed.

Encü added that an investigation has been conducted to all 34 families:

Züleyha Encü, my 11-year-old sister, and Cahide Encü, who were not even there during the ceremony, have also been called to testify.

Ferhat Encu who lost 29 family members in the massacre made a statement concerning the ruling:

So it was not enough for the specially authorized prosecutor of Diyarbakır to forward the case of Roboski to the military prosecutor’s office under the pretense of “lack of jurisdiction”.

Using the commemoration that took place at the scene of the massacre on the occasion of its 500th day as an excuse, they have imposed an administrative fine of 3000 Turkish Liras on us and also sent a notification of testimony. These proceedings have been started for about 130 – 150 people.

This decision taken by the Turkish court following the massacre has revealed the “status” of Kurds living in Turkey once again.  It has also unveiled the policies of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) that has proven the fact that it is not different from the previous Turkish governments in carrying out policies to accelerate the denial and annihilation of Kurds.

First of all, it should be emphasized that the massacre in Roboski was conducted by the Turkish state. It was not a coincidence that this massacre took place just after the meeting of the National Security Council (MGK).

And this massacre is the consequence of the pro-war policies of the AKP government. The so-called “advanced democracy” and “openings” of the AKP government are simply a disguise to cover up its repressive policies accompanied by bombardments.

Even though Kurds have been denied all their national rights ever since the establishment of the Turkish Republic, pro-Kurdish legal political parties have continuously come up with their plans and suggestions for peace and the PKK has also proven its dedication to a possible democratic solution for the Kurdish issue through the several ceasefires that it has announced. (The longest ceasefire between 1999 and 2004 as well as other unilateral ceasefires in 1993, 1995, 1998, 2005, 2006, 2009 and 2010)

So Kurds are very well aware of the fact that the war should be terminated and an honorable, democratic and just peace must be achieved.

Fazel Hawramy wrote in the Guardian that “The bombing of innocent villagers by the Turkish army demands justice. Relations with the Kurds depend on it.”

However, the Turkish state has done nothing to ease the pain of the families of the victims.

And even 1,5 years after the massacre, the families are still insulted and punished before the eyes of the whole world.

Over a month ago, the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) began withdrawing its guerillas from the Kurdish region in Turkey (Northern Kurdistan) as a part of a settlement process which has been reportedly launched by the AKP government and Abdullah Ocalan, the head of the PKK, in a bid to resolve the Kurdish issue.

Now that the attitude of the Turkish government towards the Roboski massacre has become even more humiliating and unjust, what outcomes will emerge out of the withdrawal of the PKK guerrillas from the Kurdish region in Turkey is a serious and alarming question waiting to be answered before it is too late.