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December 26, 2012, Wednesday

Uludere elegy

As the first anniversary of the Uludere tragedy, in which 34 civilians were mistakenly killed by an airstrike, approaches, columnists point out that the government has done quite a bad job both in investigating the incident to find the persons responsible for the mistake and in making it up to the relatives of the victims with a proper apology.

Bugün’s Gülay Göktürk, in an article titled “One-year-long silence,” says we have been waiting for a year for information that the government can actually obtain in one or two days. When the truth is hidden, speculation is rife, as put forward in a recent article by Taraf’s Yıldıray Oğur about a National Security Council (MGK) meeting that took place on the night of the Uludere attack. According to information obtained by Oğur from a person participating in the meeting, a plan to solve the Kurdish problem was discussed at the meeting, but the Uludere attack ruined the plan, similar to how 33 unarmed off-duty soldiers were killed in an attack in Bingöl just hours after another MGK meeting during which plans for introducing amnesty for some Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) terrorists were discussed. Göktürk says if Oğur’s claim is true and if someone is indeed attempting to wreck the government’s plans, then wouldn’t the government be the most interested to find out who was behind the Uludere attack? So why, she asks, is the government dragging its feet over speeding up the investigation?

Ahmet Taşgetiren, another columnist for Bugün, calls the Uludere conundrum the greatest challenge Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has ever faced. “I know that the majority of Kurds no longer want this issue to be a tool of exploitation and that they are worried that if this issue remains unsolved, Kurds will have a wound that will never be healed. The anniversary of the Uludere incident is coming up. Erdoğan should take a giant step and make it up to the relatives of the Uludere victims as soon as possible,” the columnist says.

Taraf’s Ali Akel says that if the government had stood by the victims and not the attackers in the first place, it would not be in such a tight corner today. “Let’s not play with words and instead be honest. You should admit your mistake when you make one. And you should apologize if needed. But you cannot get away with just an apology for the 34 young Turks who were killed by a military aircraft. It is one of those mistakes that you have to pay a price for,” he notes.

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