Turkish rights groups want UN probe into deadly raid

December 30, 2011 13:38

ANKARA - Turkish rights groups called on Friday for a UN-sponsored investigation after Turkish warplanes killed 35 villagers in an airstrike targeting Kurdish rebels on the Iraqi border that the government has called an operational mistake.

The incident, which is under government investigation, has raised tensions with minority Kurds in Turkey, sparking clashes between stone-throwing protesters and police in cities in the restive, mainly pro-Kurdish southeast and areas in Istanbul.

The attack, one of the largest single-day civilian death tolls since the militants launched their armed insurgency in 1984, came at a time when Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan has been trying to engage Kurds in talks to write a new constitution expected to address long-held Kurdish grievances.

"The incident requires a more detailed investigation, but it is an execution without due process, and carries the characteristics of a mass murder in terms of the number of victims," human rights groups IHD and Mazlumder said in a preliminary report into Wednesday's airstrike.

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