We lost 35 people as a result of an airstrike by our own jets at our common border with Iraq near the Uludere district of Şırnak at night on Wednesday, Dec. 28.
Later, it was understood that the people who died in the attack were not Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) terrorists but smugglers from a village, whose residents were mostly village-guards. This is a great disaster and a scandalous tragedy. I extend my condolences to our nation. The sorrow belongs to our nation that has never-ending tragedies. For over three decades, our soldiers have been dying in bulwarks, mountains and military outposts. We have been losing young boys and girls, who were misled to the mountains and made into “guerillas,” and their deaths are mixed into the mortar of separatism. There are efforts to trigger a fraternal feud. Those who seek to establish Kurdistan try to start a Turkish-Kurdish conflict, and they want territory, not a solution...
I listened to the prime minister during his party’s parliamentary group meeting. He thanked the General Staff and security forces. Stressing that the government is not under any tutelary influence, he stated that the Uludere incident cannot be regarded as a deliberately planned action. He seemed decisive and determined. Holding a press conference after the Cabinet meeting, Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç displayed the same resolute stance. Noting that no evil purpose can be found behind the incident, he explained that the probe is underway into negligence or vulnerability.
The interesting bit of Mr. Arınç’s assessment was as follows:
“But it is likely that this group might have been misled, or they might have walked into a trap set for them... All of these possibilities are present. Indeed, this group continued to proceed despite the fact that there were signal flares and artillery shooting. If their whole business had been to smuggle goods, then they would have contacted someone, saying, ‘We’re not terrorists, but we are going to this specific village with this specific intention,’ and life would have continued in its natural course. There were mules loaded, and they were proceeding in single file. Warnings were made, and nothing came out of these warnings...”
If there was really a trap, the critical question is: Who set that trap? Who misled the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) into mistaking a group of smugglers for PKK militants carrying heavy weapons? Who devised the plot?
There are two options: First, the power centers still operating within the deep state are uneasy about the steps taken to settle the Kurdish issue. They had been accustomed to ruling and manipulating the country via terrorism. A plot is devised to undermine counterterrorism efforts at a time when there is talk of a new democratic initiative. It is designed to block a civilian constitution and democratization efforts. They are trying to put the government behind the eight ball using their only trump card: PKK terrorism.
The second option: Having suffered great casualties and a big loss of power, the PKK was given a kiss of life, both from the inside and the outside. Look, the eyes of pro-PKK and pro-Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) people are shining brightly. Those who provoke people and put the state in the bull’s eye by arranging an attack against the district government who was visiting the village to offer condolences are actually giving themselves up. This is also visible in their joy. As the dead boys were laid to rest, BDP chairman Selahattin Demirtaş said: “Today, the country has been divided. I am now sure of it. This land is called Kurdistan no matter how many people you kill.” This statement is indicative of a mood laying in ambush, waiting to be exploited... He was almost about to dance with joy. Apparently, he has other considerations.
Turkey has arrived at a historic turning point in its century-old progress. The jacket of tutelage forcefully put on the nation will be removed, and democratization will be ensured to pave the way for freedoms, welfare and the rule of law... At the same time, our country, being the rising star of its region, will overcome the traps by achieving internal peace. This is no easy task...
But all plots are destined to be revealed in this country. What really happened in Uludere will be uncovered one day. But for now, it is the government’s responsibility not to repeat its mistake in acting slowly, as it did in early hours of the incident. If the government and the judiciary fail to move speedily, many things may be reversed.