The Diyarbakır Specially Authorized Prosecutor's Office has said the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) have yet to provide video footage taken by an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) and used as the main source of intelligence for an order to stage an airstrike that killed a group of civilians in northern Iraq on Dec. 29.
Speaking to the Taraf daily on Sunday, Diyarbakır Specially Authorized Prosecutor Ahmet Karaca noted that the Diyarbakır Specially Authorized Prosecutor's Office and the Uludere Prosecutor's Office had requested the visuals, which had four hours of video footage of the villagers who were mistakenly targeted by Turkish F16s. The TSK says it intended to strike Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) militants, who have often staged attacks on Turkish military targets in the past after crossing the Turkish-Iraqi border on routes used by smugglers.
After the incident, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said there was a four-hour recording and that the video would be examined to find the source of the failure which resulted in the deaths of 35 civilians.
Although 17 days have passed since the airstrike, no substantial progress has been made in the investigation as the TSK has not responded to the calls to send the visuals to prosecutors for examination.
The UAV visuals are key to finding the main source of the failure. Relatives of the victims said they saw UAVs in the area before the airstrike.
“Delivering the visuals does not take much time. If they are yet to be sent, this indicates hesitance on the part of the officials,” said Nuşirevan Elçi, the head of the Şırnak Bar Association, in remarks to the same daily.
As more and more days pass, deadlock in the investigation has led to the public losing hope that the truth will come out.
The lack of cooperation between state institutions once more surfaced after the incident, which sparked outrage throughout the country. No official or institution assumed responsibility for the failure but instead blamed each other.
Taraf claimed that the military had decided to stage the airstrike based on intelligence provided by a National Intelligence Organization (MİT) agent, despite doubts that emerged from the examination of the visuals.
Both the prime minister and MİT strongly denied the claim and criticized in strong terms the newspaper over its coverage of the incident.