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Turkey offers compensation for Kurdish air strike deaths

Turkey will pay compensation to the families of 35 civilians killed by its warplanes in an air strike that was supposed to target Kurdish rebels but instead hit smugglers.

Turkey kurds iraq air strike 12 291 2011Enlarge
Residents gather in front of the bodies of people who were killed in a warplane attack in the Ortasu village of Uludere, in the Sirnak province, on December 29, 2011. (ENN/AFP/Getty Images)

Turkey will pay compensation to the families of 35 civilians mistakenly killed in an air strike near the Iraq border last week, the Associated Press reported.

The announcement follows furious protests by Kurdish communities in Turkey and threats of revenge from armed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) rebels, who were the intended targets of the Turkish warplanes' fire.

More from GlobalPost: Turkey admits to mistake in air strike that killed Kurdish smugglers (VIDEO)

Turkey's deputy prime minister, Bülent Arinç, said yesterday that relatives of those killed would receive damages within days, according to the AP. He did not specify how much money would be offered, but added that the government was considering increasing the sum.

Ankara is conducting an investigation into how the error occurred. According to Arinç, Turkish soldiers followed proper procedures before the air strike, including illuminating the area and firing warning shots. He said:

"The occurrence of the incident was in no way intentional. All the findings here were determined as warranting an operation."

The government has indicated that it believes possible "intelligence failures" were to blame. The intelligence leading to the strike is thought to have come from drones, according to the AP.

Turkish officials have sought to appease anger over the incident, promising that any mistakes will not be covered up and offering condolences to the victims' families.

Yet members of Turkey's Kurdish minority remain angry. One local Turkish official was assaulted as he attempted to pay his respects to the victims in their village, the AP reported, while Kurdish activists are planning to picket US embassies across Europe all through January in protest at alleged American support for "recent massacres" by the Turkish army, according to pro-Kurdish news agency Firat.

More from GlobalPost: Stakes are high as Turkey confronts Kurds

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/europe/turkey/120103/turkey-air-strike-compensation-kurdish-deaths