Roboski Massacre: Eight years demanding justice

On 28 December 2011, 34 people, including nineteen under 18, died as a result of Turkish warplanes bombardment. Eight years on families are still demanding justice and the truth.

In the village of Roboski, (in the Uludere district of Şırnak) life changed completely and irreversibly 8 years ago.

Turkish Armed Forces warplanes bombed a group of people, on 28 December 2011. They were cross border traders, civilians trying to make a living as they have done for generations, across a border they did not want and that was defined by powers (most of them foreign) for economic and political interests.

Seven years have passed and the women and men of Roboski have been demanding justice and truth. They have been denied both, so far. Yet they haven’t given up and no matter how many slaps in the face they are getting, they keep going, more determined than ever.

Because justice and truth cannot be buried.

The entire village was in one way or another connected to the 34 who lost their life. They were sons, cousins, fathers, friends, brothers… 

The search for justice has been long and it’s proving full of obstacles.

The file prepared by the Uludere Chief Public Prosecutor's Office about the massacre was sent to the General Staff Military Prosecutor's Office.

Then the file reached the Constitutional Court (AYM) where it was rejected on the grounds of "missing documents".

The file by 281 applicants was then sent to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).

The ECHR, after 2 years, rejected the application saying that not all the domestic venues had been exhausted.

Repression hit families

The repression of Kurds by the AKP government has been a daily reality since the party came into power, and it has various and different forms.

In the case of families seeking for justice and the truth, there is a pattern of systematic harassment. It is aimed at discouraging as well as repressing families of those who have already paid a very heavy price at the hands of the AKP ruling party.

After ordering the massacre of Roboski, on 28 December 2011, the AKP government went at great length to make sure not only that the massacre be covered up but that the families of the 34 civilians massacred received no justice.

The repression of family members of the victims began almost immediately after the massacre. After a mean attempt to buy the families, the government seeing that the attempt was unsuccessful and families wanted justice, began to slowly but constantly harassing various family members and relatives.

It would be not far from the truth to say that almost all family members of the various victims were at some point taken into custody. Some were remanded in custody and jailed, some are still in prison, such as the case of Sirnak HDP deputy, Ferhat Encü.

When law is under control of the ruling party

The Roboski Peace Association (Roboski-Der), which was founded in 2013 by the families of the people murdered on 28 December 2011, was closed in 2017 with the Decree-Law (Decree).