James Meikle 

December 29, 2011

Turkey’s ruling party has called the killing of 35 people in an air attack along its south-eastern border an “unfortunate operational accident”.

The deputy chairman of the governing Justice and Development party Hüseyin Çelik said the victims were not Kurdish militants, as some initially suspected, but people smuggling cigarettes across the border.

Expressing his sorrow and offering condolences to families of those killed, he said: “If there is a mistake or negligence, it will be found out.”

Çelik dismissed claims the bombing of civilians had been intentional. “Such malicious claims are untrue and should be disregarded,” the Turkish newspaper Hurriyet reported him as saying.

Read full report here

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