On the night of 28 December 2011 Turkish warplanes carried out a bombing in the district of Uludere/Roboski resulting in the death of 34 civilians, 18 of whom were children.
No military target was hit in the attack which the authorities at first claimed to have struck armed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) guerrillas. The authorities later admitted that civilian “smugglers” were hit after entering Turkey from neighbouring Iraq.
The Wall Street Journal underlined, a few months later that the bombing was ordered after intelligence provided by US drones.
The first official investigation on the massacre was criticised by Amnesty International in a letter to Turkish Justice Minister Sadullah Ergin, as “lacking credibility”.
Small trans-border trade is a hundreds of years old common practice in the Kurdish border areas. Indeed, Roboski villagers survive thanks to this trade, buying sugar, cigarettes and fuel in Kurdistan Iraq where they are cheaper.
On 27 March 2013, over two years after the massacre, the Human Rights Commission of the Turkish Parliament passed a report which once again failed to shed light on the massacre. Indeed the report concluded that no particular person or agency was responsible for the air strike order, and referred to the massacre as an “accident.”
Experts who had examined images taken from unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) on the day of the attack say it was extremely unlikely for the military to have mistaken the group of civilians for PKK guerrillas.
KCK (Kurdistan Communities Union) Executive Council Co-Presidency issued a written statement on the anniversary of Roboski massacre. KCK said that the Turkish state is pressuring, blackmailing, threatening and attacking Kurdish people and the families from Roboski that demand justice.
KCK noted that the perpetrators of Roboski massacre have not been revealed despite the fact that 5 years have passed since the atrocity, and emphasized that the state is protecting the perpetrators in order to ‘not discourage soldiers and police officers that carry out genocidal attacks against Kurdish people.
In its statement, KCK said the following:
“The attitude towards the killing of Kurdish people has become a state policy. Just like the 1990s, the murderers of thousands Kurdish and democrat people have been hidden and not brought to justice during the AKP period. With this policy, the state gives the message ‘If you stand up against the state, you will get killed and nobody will stand up for you.’ This policy is used as a means of intimidating the society.
After the massacre of 34 lives in Roboski, the state attacked Kurdish people and the families from Roboski for demanding justice. These people are pressured, blackmailed, threatened and attacked. The AKP government views Roboski as a hostile village that needs to be punished. Our people and the residents of Roboski will never forget this massacre. For the memory of our martyrs, we will continue to struggle against the mentality and policies that caused this massacre because such massacres will not end if the mentality and policies of Roboski’s perpetrators are not eliminated.
Those that have bombarded the youth and children of Roboski show their enmity towards Kurdish people as the bombard Kurdistan every day. The Kurdish Freedom Movement is struggling in order to create free Kurdistan and avenge the martyrs of Roboski and other massacres. Martyrs of Roboski will be avenged when free Kurdistan is created and Turkey is democratized. Like the martyrs of Roboski, the people of Botan have made many sacrifices during the struggle for freedom and democracy. These sacrifices brought invincible values to the freedom struggle and helped it progress no matter how heavy attacks may be.
We will never forget the massacre of young people and children in Roboski. The perpetrators of this massacre will eventually be brought to justice.”