18 April 2014, Friday
Today's Zaman

Interior minister’s approach to Uludere ‘inhumane,’ AK Party says

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24 May 2012, Thursday /TODAY’S ZAMAN
Ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) Deputy Chairman Hüseyin Çelik has criticized Interior Minister İdris Naim Şahin’s recent statements in which he referred to the victims of a botched airstrike as “extras” for the terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), adding that Şahin’s approach to the issue is not “humane.”

Çelik told the Anatolia news agency on Thursday that he does not agree with majority of Şahin’s statements regarding the killing of 34 civilians on the Turkish-Iraqi border by military jets late last year. “We think this approach and style by Mr. Minister is not humane. It is also clear that the style and approach of Mr. Minister does not belong to the AK Party,” Çelik said.

His critical remarks came after Şahin’s controversial remarks during a television program on Wednesday. The interior minister criticized the local people of Uludere during the program, saying the 34 civilians killed in the airstrike were smuggling goods from bordering Iraq when they were attacked.

“It is not possible to get something right from something wrong. If they had been captured alive, they would be put on trial on charges of smuggling, but this incident overshadowed the smuggling issue,” he said.

Şahin also claimed that locals in Uludere and surrounding regions are used by the PKK and the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK), an umbrella organization that allegedly encompasses the PKK, which he said makes financial gains through smuggling activities in the region.

In the first comment from the ruling party on Şahin’s remarks, Çelik said it is not correct to label these people as extras for trying to earn a living, even if in an illegal way. He said: “Everyone knows that smugglers in this region go ahead with this job by bribing someone. This has always been the case. It is known that the PKK gets some share from smuggling in northern Iraq -- due to PKK presence there. However, the fact that the PKK lives on smuggling or that it gets some share of it does not make people who try to earn their bread, even if in an illegal way, extras of the PKK. This is how our party thinks from the beginning.”

Noting that his party has always shared the pain of the families of the Uludere victims, Çelik said all government officials, including Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, have adopted this stance. “I do not approve of Mr. Minister’s remarks on Wednesday. … In fact, the fact that the government decided to pay compensation to the families of these people shows that these people are not terrorists and extras of the PKK. These people are, of course, guilty of smuggling. However, the sentence to be given for smuggling is different,” he added.

On Dec. 28, 2011, Turkish fighter jets bombed a group of smugglers, mistaken for PKK members, on the Turkish-Iraqi border area near Uludere, sparking outrage in Turkey. The Turkish military stated that the warplanes had targeted the group based on intelligence that suggested a group of armed terrorists would be heading towards the Turkish border to stage attacks on the military.

In the meantime, a group of Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputies who are members of a parliamentary sub-commission tasked with investigating the deadly Uludere strike, left a meeting of the sub-commission on Wednesday, arguing that they were not allowed by Ayhan Sefer Üstün, the head of the sub-commission, to talk about the strike.

The members later called a press conference. CHP Deputy Chairman Sezgin Tanrıkulu complained they were not permitted to discuss the Uludere incident during the meeting and asked: “Then where will we talk about it? A massacre occurred in Uludere, and that massacre is a crime committed against humanity. The [AK Party] government is responsible for that.” Tanrıkulu also said the CHP will not cease to follow up on the incident until the shroud of mist surrounding it has been dispersed.

Additionally, a tug of war was kicked off between AK Party and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) deputies of the sub-commission regarding the Uludere incident after the CHP deputies left the meeting. Yusuf Halaçoğlu, an MHP deputy, claimed that the group of smugglers in Uludere had been bombed even though it was known by authorities they were not terrorists. He also accused the AK Party members of the commission of hiding information from the other members.

I can't help but laugh at the armenians hiding behind foreign handles below. Nobodies taking your cries seriously especially when everybody knows that you are the most racist, fascist people in the world.
Mr.şahin's word are very disappointing to say such a dreadful remark to the bereaving family who lost their beloved one's by the painful strike in late december to call those unjustly killed citizens were criminals are absolutely big shame to Mr.şahin
HQ must know the commander in charge for the bombing unless there are no hierarchical/organizational structures within turk. army.
And who appointed the Interior Minister,tolerated his vitriol, thereby approving his record, not least his racist rhetoric? There's something rotten in the house of AKP.
Why is Sahin still in govt? Why has he not been dismissed yet? His mentality is what is holding turkey back.
Friend of Turks
This might sound a bit strange but when you like at Sahins face he looks like a member of CHP, MHP or BDP. Whatta XXXX does he do in the AK P? Get him out! A extreme MHP memeber would not say something inhumane as Sahin did.! Jalla, get out!
Osman F
What AKP party doesn't say has more consequences. Until now there was no apology for killing of 34 civilians including 19 children and no military responsible was pointed out so far. Thisway the entire responsibility is automatically shifted to Turkish government (AKP), this is the one to blame.
Aban don Al Hope
If a guy like Şahin is the Interior Minister of Turkey today you can imagine what the Interior Minister in 1915 has said and done to minorities living in Turkey. I do not understand a country of about 80 million, this is the only guy one can find to give him a post like this? Any answer other than n...
Uncle Billy
İdris Naim Şahin, this guy is a work of art competing with Egemen Bağış to the great honor of who will be named to be the most un-befitting person to serve in any government. At least Bağış has visited Europe a few times which is most unlikely for Şahin who seems to have just descended from the moun...
It is good to see that at least the government acknowledged the unbefitting remarks made by any human being but especially an Interior Minister. This same thing the government failed to do when this same shameful Minister a few months ago at Taksim square in Istanbul put down another minority group ...
Saaten Maagar
Mr. Idris Sahin hurts AKP, the very principles and policies of the Turkish government, and the Turkish nation. Sadly, he does it over and over again.
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