Turkish commander fired over air raid
Islam Times - Turkey has dismissed a military commander involved in an airstrike that killed 35 Kurdish civilians southeast of the country last month.
The Turkish interior ministry relieved Col. Huseyin Onur Guney, deputy commander of a regiment in Uludere district of Sirnak province, where the airstrike took place, of his post upon a request from the Sirnak governor's office.
Sirnak governor Vahdettin Ozkan said the decision was made following an administrative investigation into the deadly incident.
Thirty-five people were killed on December 28 when Turkish warplanes mistakenly targeted Kurdish smugglers, thought to be members of Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) terrorist group, in the village of Ortasu in the southeastern province of Sirnak close to the border with Iraq.
Ankara has admitted that the military made a mistake and the families of victims have been offered compensation. Turkey's military command said it carried out the airstrikes after a spy drone spotted a group moving toward its sensitive southeastern border.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan described the attack as “unfortunate” and “saddening,” noting that half the dead were under 20.
Meanwhile, at least 40 PKK members were arrested in the cities of Istanbul, Diyarbakir and Silopi on Wednesday. They are accused of dismembering the bodies of PKK militants killed in military airstrikes in order to tarnish the image of Turkish forces.
Those arrested are also accused of taking part in violent protests and attacking several public buses and government vehicles between 2009 and 2011.
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