Delegation prevented to reach clash area


A delegation was denied access to the area where on 14 July thirteen soldiers died
It was in the air. Yet it was not only worth but a sort of duty trying. The delegation made up of representatives from Turkey Medical Doctors Association, Architect and Engineers Chambers Union (TMMOB), Confederation of Public Employee Trade Unions (KESK), Confederation of Revolutionary Workers Trade Union (D?SK), was prevented from reaching the area around Hazro in Silvan (a district of Diyarbak?r) where on 14 of July 13 soldiers had died as well as two Kurdish guerrillas following clashes. The delegation knew that it was going to be difficult to get permission to enter the clash area.
On Tuesday the first report on the events of 14 July was published by the Turkish Armed Forces and although being quite generic it was clear on one point: it had been a mistake – said the army – not to close the area to the public, especially to journalists. So there was little hope for the delegation of trade unions of being given permission from the governor. Yet it had to be tried because indeed the denial is one more proof of the fact that the army has something to hide. The events leading to the death of 13 soldiers have different versions. The army simply and immediately put it down to the attack and ambush by the PKK guerrillas. But witnesses among the locals tell a completely different story. They have said that indeed the area was under heavy bombing by the army. And this eventually ignited the fire which left no escape possibility to the soldiers. So, killed by friendly fire is the more accredited version among the locals. And to investigate this the trade unionists delegation was to go to the area. The army is denying that the fire had been ignited by its bombing. Indeed in the first report the army said that there were no planes involved in the clashes around Silvan, but only helicopters were in the area. The report, although very very subtly does admit that there were some questionable matters regarding the incident that will be referred to the judiciary. These questions include, as far as the daily Today’s Zaman reported, “whether the geographical conditions were appropriate for the establishment of a temporary military base where the casualties occurred; whether sufficient surveillance and preventative measures were taken ahead of the attack; whether sufficient measures were taken after the unit that came under attack received warnings of terrorist activity; and whether the helicopters sent to the scene of the attack were prepared for flight on time”. The Interior Ministery has also conducted its own investigation into the events and this will be released soon. Once again what strikes is the fact that the investigation has swiftly moved from the search of the truth (i.e. have the soldiers been killed by friendly fire ?) to the search for a scape goat. Indeed the main question remains unanswered: what really happened in Silvan?

Unanswered is also the question about the five guerrillas the army stated to have died. Only two bodies were recovered. What happened to the other three? Or rather, were there other three guerrillas?

The delegation today was supposed to go and investigate the area. It was prevented from doing that. And this is clearly another blow to democracy and the search for truth. Previously, another delegation formed by the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) and many NGOs, including the Human Rights Association (?HD), trade union confederations, MAZLUM-DER, the Bar Association, the Chamber of Medical Doctors, the Chamber of Commerce and the Chamber of Architects and Engineers (TMMOB), went to the same area to investigate the events and stated in its initial report that there was no trace of a fire big enough to cause the death of 13 soldiers.

It is worth to remind that the Kurdish guerrillas (HPG, People’s Defence Forces) are observing a non action period, which sparked doubts about a possible ‘offensive’ action as stated by the army.

The delegation waited for about an hour before deciding to go back to Diyarbak?r from where they had set off in the morning.


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