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Turkish PM 'Regrets' Killing Of Kurdish Civilians In Air Strike


Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has expressed regret for the deaths of 35 Kurdish civilians in an air strike, saying it had been determined they were smugglers and not separatist rebels.

Speaking to journalists in Istanbul, Erdogan offered his condolences to the families of the victims for what he called an "unfortunate and distressing" incident.

His remarks came as thousands of mourners in southeastern Turkey gathered for the funerals of those killed in the December 29 air strike.

The bombing came after the Turkish military mistakenly identified the smugglers as being guerrillas from the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).

In a second day of unrest on December 30, demonstrators clashed with police who fired tear gas and water cannon in several cities in the region. A number of people were reportedly detained and at least one person was injured.

Several hundred people also demonstrated in Arbil and Sulaimaniyah in Iraq’s semiautonomous northern Kurdish region.

Bahoz Erdal, from the armed wing of the PKK, was quoted as calling for a Kurdish uprising against Turkish rule.

"We urge the people of Kurdistan to react after this massacre and seek a settling of accounts through uprisings," Erdal said.

The group claimed in a statement that the air strike was “no accident” but “organized and planned."

compiled from agency reports

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