Crowds gathered in Turkey’s southeastern Şırnak (Şirnêx) province to march on the 11th anniversary of the Roboskî Massacre to remember the 34 Kurdish villagers, 19 of whom were minors, who were killed by Turkish jet fighters at the border.
In attendance were Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) co-chair Pervin Buldan, Turkish main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) MP Sezgin Tanrıkulu, Democratic Society Congress (DTK) and Democratic Regions Party (DBP) co-chairs Keskin Bayındır and Saliha Aydeniz, head of Turkey’s Union of Bar Associations (TBB) Erinç Sağkan, as well as representatives from left-wing organisations and parties and several provincial bar associations. The politicians, accompanied by the largest crowd in recent years, marched to the cemetery for a graveside memorial, Mezopotamya Agency reported.
“The state has failed to bring justice to even this tiny village,” Roboskî resident Zeki Tosun said during the memorial service, repeating a call to bring perpetrators to justice.
“Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan promised he wouldn’t let the massacre get lost in the dark tunnels under Ankara. Today in the capital, they poured concrete on the massacre,” said Ferhat Encü, close relative of most of the Roboskî victims and former HDP MP.
“These lands cannot take any more impromptu massacres that come with no questions asked,” Şırnak Bar Association Chairman Rojhat Dilsiz said. “As long as those responsible are not held to account, our fight will continue on year 100, let alone 11.”
“The TBB will work to bring justice to Roboskî”, TBB chairman Erinç Sağkan said.
“Impunity has been the default state of affairs in all incidents involving killing of Kurds”, Diyarbakır (Amed) Bar Association Chairman Nahit Eren said. “If we are to be recognised as citizens in this country, establish justice according to the constitution.”
While CHP’s Tanrıkulu pointed to “General Staff personnel and politicians of the era” as the culprits in Roboskî, HDP Co-chair Pervin Buldan said 11 years without an effective investigation or revealed perpetrators was “a great shame and deep wound for Turkey”.
“We face a situation where those who need to be held to account, attack those who should hold them accountable,” Buldan said.
“Turkey’s official stance towards Kurdish people is the same against 34 Roboskî villagers and against Encü”, the co-chair added.
Ferhat Encü was physically attacked by a police officer last week during a demonstration. The HDP Istanbul provincial chair was slapped, and later detained by the police over rights violations in Turkish prisons.
Turkey’s major cities in and away from its Kurdish-majority centres also saw crowds gather on the massacre anniversary.
Rights defenders in the southern Adana province gathered to protest the investigations and prosecution against Roboskî families, which they said was a “shameful”.
The Human Rights Association (İHD) issued a written statement in Istanbul.
“Roboskî Massacre was a crime against humanity”, İHD Hatay’s Selman Altınöz said in the demonstration in the southeastern province, repeating a call for justice.
“We stand by the fight for justice to reveal the perpetrators of the Roboskî Massacre,” HDP Şanlıurfa (Riha) MP Ayşe Sürücü said reading a statement by the party headquarters.
Speaking at a meeting in the capital Ankara, HDP MP Abdullah Koç said an independent and neutral judiciary would hold Roboski to account.
The parliamentary commission for human rights considered the incident to be related to border trade and said it was a “grievous mistake”, Koç said. “The strike order is a political order that was given by the government. Legally speaking, the government is the one that exercised this authority.”
“There are levels of responsibility from the government to the man who pulled the trigger,” Koç said. “However, because it was Kurds and dissidents, there is no ongoing case… The investigation has been shelved.”
“We will fight together to bring justice to Roboskî,” CHP MP Levent Gök said.
“Time does not flow in Roboskî. Everything is frozen still since 28 December 2011,” HDP Şırnak MP Hüseyin Kaçmaz appeared as saying in a video he shared on his social media accounts on Tuesday.
“The government, instead of uncovering the culprits, protected and almost praised them. Thirty four poor Kurdish villagers were killed, not a single apology was made,” Kaçmaz continued. “The hand raised against Ferhat Encü is the same hand that fired the bombs. It is the hand of those who deny Kurds, who harbour enmity against Kurds.”
“Without justice in Roboskî, Turkey will know no justice. The source of our strife is state violence, impunity, realities of war, and a lack of justice,” the Şırnak MP said.