The Roboski massacre, nine years on …

On 28 December 2011, thirty four civilians, nineteen of them children, died as a result of the bombardment by warplanes of the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) in the village of Roboski in Şırnak (Şırnex), Uludere district, in Turkey.

Although an investigation was initiated by the Diyarbakır Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office after the massacre, a decision of non-jurisdiction was made one and a half years later and was sent to the General Staff Military Prosecutor’s Office. The military Prosecutor’s Office rejected the request to prosecute or advance the file in January 2014. The lawyers’ objection to this decision was denied and rejected. After the application to the Constitutional Court (AYM) was also rejected, the families applied to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in 2016. However, the ECHR found the application “inadmissible” and rejected the application, citing the late sending of the missing documents by the lawyers who had applied on behalf of the families on 17 May 2018.

Nine years have passed since the massacre, yet no one has been tried or held accountable for the massacre. Mesopotamia Agency (MA) interviewed members of the families in Roboski that have directly suffered from the pain of the massacre and justice denied. Mehmet Ali Tosun’s father, Zeki Tosun, told MA: “After my son died, we had a grandchild. We named him after my son”. He added that even after a century, the truth will continue to be told to the children.

Hamza Encu’s mother, Kadriye Encu, said: “Does a person ever forget? You raise a child with great effort despite all hardships and then they come and kill him. How can I forget this? We will not forget until there is no blood left in our bodies. Our hearts will always be sad, hurt. We want justice”.

Şivan Encu’s mother, Leyla Encu, said: “After the death of my son, we named my grandson Şivan”, so that the massacre would not be forgotten. Mother Türkan Uysal spoke about her son, Özcan Uysal: “He was the oldest of my sons”. She also added that her grandson is named ‘Özcan’ to remind them of him.

Aslan Encu’s mother, Zahide Encu, observed: “I haven’t seen any part of my son, Aslan. There was nothing inside the coffin”. She clarified that she will not give up her demand for justice.

Azime Alma, the mother of Nadir Alma, whilst clutching and breathing in her son’s scarf, says: “I can’t wash it, so that my son’s scent remains on it. My son came in front of our house: this scarf was in his hand. He said he had decided to go to Iraq (Iraqi Kurdistan). After he came back, he was holding this scarf. I took it. I did not give it to anyone. He did not have the money to buy diesel oil. His father went and borrowed money from his brother. It was late: we said don’t go, but he didn’t listen …”. Azime Alma added: “If I die, I will deliver his items to my daughter”.

Erkan Encu’s name is written in capital letters on the outer wall of the house where the family lives. Mother Felek Encu, said: “Not eight years, not even after 8,000 years have passed will we let go of this event. We will never forget our children”. She stated Orhan Encu’s name was also given to a nephew.

Time, for many, has not moved since the Roboski massacre. For relatives and friends, everything seems to stop the night of 28 December. Yes, those who have departed will never come back, everyone knows that. But people here want justice: perhaps then, there may be less pain.

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The Roboski massacre, nine years on …

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