Kurdish rebels call for uprising after Turkish air strike

Last Updated: Friday, December 30, 2011 - 15:07

Istanbul: Kurdish separatists in Turkey
on Friday called for an "uprising" after an air force raid killed
35 villagers near the Iraqi border in what the ruling party
admitted could have been a blunder.

"We urge the people of Kurdistan... to react after this
massacre and seek a settling of accounts through uprisings,"
Bahoz Erdal from the armed wing of the Kurdistan Workers`
Party (PKK), labelled a terrorist organisation by Ankara, said
in a statement.

The PKK uses the term "uprising" for sweeping civil
disobedience as well as clashes with the police.

Turkey`s military command said it carried out an air
strike on suspected PKK militants after a spy drone spotted a
group moving toward its sensitive southeastern border under
cover of darkness late Wednesday, in an area known to be used
by militants.

Turkey`s ruling party yesterday said the strike late
Wednesday could have been a "blunder" that killed civilians
and not Kurdish separatists and police fired tear gas to
disperse stone-throwing youths in a pro-Kurdish demonstration
in Istanbul.

"According to initial reports, these people were
smugglers and not terrorists," said Huseyin Celik,
vice-president of the governing Justice and Development Party
(AKP).
"If it turns out to have been a mistake, a blunder, rest
assured that this will not be covered up," he said, adding
that it could have been an "operational accident" by the
military.

The main pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) said
the planes had bombed villagers from Kurdish majority
southeastern Turkey who were smuggling sugar and fuel across
the border on mules and donkeys.

"It`s clearly a massacre of civilians, of whom the oldest
is 20," BDP leader Selahattin Demirtas said in a statement
that called on Turkey`s Kurdish population to respond "by
democratic means."

The PKK took up arms in Kurdish-majority southeastern
Turkey in 1984, sparking a conflict that has claimed about
45,000 lives. It is labelled a terrorist organisation by
Ankara and much of the international community.

The protest in Istanbul yesterday called by the BDP
drew 2,000 people in the city`s Taksim Square.

Afterwards, several hundred youths shouting pro-PKK
slogans threw stones at riot police, who responded with water
cannon and tear gas, making several arrests.

PTI



First Published: Friday, December 30, 2011 - 15:06

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