Roboski families ask former minister Babacan to reveal who is responsible for the atrocity

The families of Roboski victims have asked DEVA leader and former deputy prime minister Ali Babacan to make public who ordered the attack on 34 Kurdish villagers in 2011. The families' remarks came after the politician called on the government to issue an apology to the families over the massacre.

Duvar English

The families of Roboski victims have asked Democracy and Progress Party (DEVA) leader and former deputy minister Ali Babacan to reveal who is responsible for the atrocity that killed their beloved ones.

A total of 34 civilians, including 19 children, were killed in the airstrikes carried out by the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) in the Roboski village of the Kurdish majority southeastern province of Şırnak on Dec. 28, 2011. The bombs left bodies dismembered, with families unable to identify their loved ones.

“Nine years have passed since the Roboski massacre. We will never forget those 34 lives. Babacan should make public who gave the order of this massacre. Unless justice comes, we will not accept any apology remark [even if it is issued],” Kadriye Encü, the mother of killed Hamza Encü, was quoted as saying by Mezopotamya news agency on April 9.

Encü's remarks came after Babacan called on the government to “apologize” to the families of Roboski victims. “Justice is still awaiting for our citizens who lost their lives in Roboski. No one has even apologized,” Babacan said on April 6, as he addressed his DEVA party's first ordinary congress in Şırnak.

In the face of Babacan's remarks, families have said that a massacre “cannot be made to be forgotten through just an apology” and that the DEVA leader himself should also apologize as he previously served as deputy prime minister, foreign minister and economy minister under the current ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government.

“If Babacan had been just a bit sincere in his remarks, justice would have long time ago come to Roboski. Why was Babacan not speaking like this when he was serving as deputy prime minister? Why did he not at the time apologize from Roboski families? Why is he saying what he should have said at the time right now? If he is a bit sincere, he would share with the public what he knows,” Halime Encü, the mother of killed Serhat Encü, said.

“We do not have them to conduct ugly politics through us,” Encü said.

Hazal Encü, the mother of killed Cemal Encü, called on Babacan to explain “everywhere what the AKP did in Roboksi.” “Their purpose is to win Kurdish votes with this politics, but they will not be able to. If he [Babacan] is just a bit sincere, he should keep his promise and not maintain this discourse only in Şırnak,” Encü said.

Following the TSK's airstrikes on Roboski victims, authorities said that they thought those near the Iraqi border were militants of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), when in fact they were only smuggling goods - a widely-known means of living for the people in the area.

Nine years have passed since the massacre but the families' wounds remain unhealed.

The families' search for justice both in domestic courts and in the international arena failed. Right after the massacre, the families filed a complaint in order for those responsible to be tried, but after years of waiting, a military prosecutor's office dismissed the case.

The families in 2014 took the case to the Constitutional Court, which deemed it inadmissible due to errors in the submission that stemmed from the Şırnak Bar Association's serious mistakes.

The latest blow to the Roboski families was dealt by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) when it dismissed their appeal on the grounds that domestic legal means weren't exhausted since the files weren't submitted properly to the Constitutional Court.

The families are preparing to file another application with the Turkish Constitutional Court.