World Bulletin / News Desk
The National Intelligence Organization (MİT) did not provide any intelligence ahead of an air strike by Turkish military jets that led to the death of 34 civilians in Uludere, Hakkari province, near the Turkish border with Iraq, according to the findings of a parliamentary commission investigating what went wrong on the day of the attack.
The air strike took place on Dec. 28, 2011. Smugglers from Uludere were crossing the border back into Turkey after a day of trading with Iraq using their usual routes, tolerated by the security officials in the area. The General Staff initially said the smugglers were mistaken for Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) militants, but footage from unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and witness accounts have failed to provide evidence for that claim, with many experts saying that it is quite obvious the smugglers, walking in single-file with their mules with loaded saddles, are unarmed border crossers.
The parliamentary Human Rights Investigation Commission, which is conducting its own probe into the incident, last week started reviewing the documents sent to it by the Diyarbakır Prosecutor's Office. Members of the commission say the documents the prosecution has collected during the course of the investigation do not include any information about the possible source of the intelligence that misled the jets to bomb the area the smugglers passed through. MİT also sent a document saying it had no role in providing any intelligence for the attack and that MİT officials found out about the attack the day after it took place. The prosecutor's office cannot make the documents public as they include sensitive information in terms of national security.
The Uludere subcommittee of the commission is still reviewing five folders of documents sent from the Diyarbakır Prosecutor's Office. There are about 300 documents sent to the prosecutors by the General Staff, the 2nd Army Command, the 23rd Gendarmerie Division Command, the 22nd Brigade Command and the Ministry of Defense.
MİT, in a two-page document addressed to the prosecutor's office, said it had provided intelligence regarding irregular movements in the region in early December, but noted that this information had lost its validity by Dec. 28, the day of the air strike.
Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) Mersin deputy Ertuğrul Kürkçü on Wednesday told journalists that MİT clearly stated that it shared no information regarding any leaks into Turkey from terrorist bases on or around Dec. 28.
“There is absolutely no information in the documents sent by the prosecutor's office that can answer the question of who provided intelligence for the attack,” he added.
The General Staff responded to a query from the prosecutor's office by saying Heron UAVs were recording images of the region at the time. Later, Predator drones flew nearer to the area, staying in the zone for about 15 minutes before leaving.