14 families from the town of Roboski in the southeastern province of Şırnak gathered at the Eresin Hotel in Istanbul upon a call raised by Islamic non-governmental organizations (NGOs) exactly 173 days after the botched air strike by the Turkish military that took the lives of 34 civilians last year.
The families who carried pictures of their acquiantences in their hands and over their chests could not hold their tears back as they called for justice and reproached the authorities for failing to find the responsible parties six months after the incident.
The Islamic organizations also demanded that the Turkish state accept its mistake, give blessings and put the responsible parties on trial.
"How did the prime minister feel when watching the UAVs?"
Veli Encü: "173 days passed since the massacre. [Authorities] arrested Roboski villagers instead of the parties responsible for the massacre. Five people are behind bars, and arrest orders are still standing for 18 [more] people on the grounds they attacked the district mayor, despite the fact that not a single person has been brought before justice. [They] are threatening us and telling us that we cannot challenge [the situation] because the state killed them.
Erkan Encü's mother Felek Encü: All the 34 people are my relatives, and those in the photographs are my own life. The prime minister who demands justice for the kids in Syria and Gaza does not see our children. My son was 13 years old; he did not deserve to die in pieces. The prime minister said he had watched the Heron (unmanned aerial vehicle) footages. So what did he feel then when he was watching them? I am calling on his conscience. Your speeches are tearing us apart.
Selam Encü's mother Semire Encü: My son was a student; he had to resort to smuggling. Would I have sent him into that misery otherwise? When I heard the news that evening, we went [there] with my daughter in that snow and mud without socks on our feet. I could not recognize my son among those tattered bodies. My fury and my demand for justice goes to the prime minister.
"The culprits should no longer roam among us"
Yüksel Ürek's mother Emine Ürek: Each culprit ought to be sentenced to life imprisonment 34 times. This bloodletting should stop; mothers should stop crying and children should stop dying. We are the children of this state, too. We live under the same roof and the same flag. We did not deserve this. If there is justice in Turkey, we do not want these culprits to roam among us any longer.
Vedat Encü's mother Mercan Encü: They ask us why we took these children there. I do not dare wake my son up from his sleep, but we were compelled to send them into that blaze. I call on martyrs' mothers, too. Let there be peace, and may such a massacre never take place again.
The organizations that issued the call: AKABE Culture and Education Foundation, the Aksa Education and Solidarity Foundation (AKDAV,) the Research and Culture Foundation (AKV,) the Fatih Raiders, the Hikmet Foundation, the Foundation for Human Rights and Freedoms and Humanitarian Relief (IHH,) the Association of Human Rights and Solidarity for Oppressed Peoples (Mazlum-Der,) the Association of Free Thought and Education (Özgür-Der.) (NV)