PM Erdoğan, military chief discuss last week’s botched airstrike

January 02, 2012, Monday/ 15:37:00/ TODAYSZAMAN.COM

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan met with Chief of General Staff Gen. Necdet Özel on Monday to discuss a botched airstrike by the Turkish military that claimed the lives of 35 civilians near the Turkish border in northern Iraq last week.

Erdoğan received Gen. Özel at the Prime Ministry in the afternoon for their weekly meeting. No official statement was made after the meeting, but the killing of 35 people in the military airstrike is known to have dominated the agenda of the meeting.

Turkish warplanes mistakenly killed 35 smugglers and other villagers in an operation that targeted Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) bases in Iraq Wednesday night.

The government acknowledged that the victims were smugglers, not terrorists. The military issued a statement that said the warplanes had targeted the group based on intelligence that had suggested a group of armed terrorists would be heading towards the Turkish border to stage attacks on the military. The victims were from the villages of Ortasu, Gülyazı and Ortabağ in the Uludere district of the southeastern province of Şırnak.

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