Target: Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
Goal: Find, charge, and convict those responsible for killing 34 Kurds in Turkey
More than a year has passed since the Turkish Air Force bombed a group of people they suspected were members of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has been labeled a terrorist group by Turkey and some Western countries. This group of people turned out to be Kurdish villagers attempting to smuggle miscellaneous goods such as sugar and petrol from Iraq to Turkey. However, it cost them their lives – 34 lives to be exact, of which 17 were children. The event has since been called the Roboski massacre (after the Kurdish name of the village where the killings took place).
In January 2012, the Turkish government launched a Commission of Inquiry to look into what really happened. They have not released a conclusion. The Turkish prosecutor’s office also launched a criminal investigation in regards to the killings. They too have not released any information, saying their investigation is still incomplete. In sum, no one has been held accountable for this horrendous crime.
The apparent lack of interest by the Turkish government in solving this case reflects a bigger problem of the treatment of Kurds in Turkey. During the past few years, many Kurds living in Turkey have been arrested on the grounds of affiliating with the Union of Kurdistan Communities (KCK) – a group that allegedly serves as an “urban wing of the PKK”, according to the Turkish government. Accusations of affiliating with terrorist groups are common among Kurdish human rights activists and others. For instance, statistics show that during 2012, no other country in the world locked up as many journalists as Turkey did. Most of them were Kurds suspected of terrorism-related activity.
The world received a reminder of the situation in Turkey when, earlier this year, three Kurdish human rights activists and PKK members were murdered in Paris. These killings are believed to be attempts at disrupting talks towards potentially reaching a peace agreement between the PKK and the Turkish Prime Minister. Hopefully, the person(s) guilty of those crimes will be brought to justice. It’s time to demand the same for the crimes committed in Roboski. Sign the petition and insist that the 34 lives lost not be forgotten.
Dear Mr. Erdoğan,
More than a year has passed since your air force bombed a group of people mistakenly suspected of being fighters of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). And still no one has been, arrested, charged, or convicted in connection with this horrendous crime.
Your government launched a Commission of Inquiry back in January 2012, to look into what really happened. They have not released a conclusion. Your prosecutor’s office also launched a criminal investigation in regards to the killings. They too have not released any information, saying their investigation is still incomplete. For the sake of justice, criminal accountability, and the respect of your large Kurdish population, please see to it that these investigations are completed without further delay.
Thirty-four lives – including 17 children – cannot be forgotten. I urge you to take all necessary steps to ensure that guilty people are held responsible. Not doing so seriously jeopardizes hopes to reach a positive resolution and peace agreement to end the long-term conflict with the Kurdish population.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: babasteve via Flickr