Nov 23, 2011

Erdoğan apologizes over Dersim massacre on behalf of Turkish state

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has apologized for a 1937 massacre in the predominantly Alevi region of Dersim on behalf of the Turkish state, but said the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), which was the only political party at the time, is the actual culprit in the massacre and called on the party's current leader to apologize for the incident on behalf of the CHP.
“Is it me who should apologize or you [CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu]? If there should be an apology on behalf of the state and if there is such an opportunity, I can do it and I am apologizing. But if there is someone who should apologize on behalf of the CHP, it is you as you are from Dersim. You were saying you felt honored to be from Dersim. Now, save your honor,” Erdoğan said during a party meeting on Wednesday.

It was the first official apology from the Turkish government over the killings of thousands of people in the southeastern town of Dersim - now known as Tunceli - between 1936 and 1939.
Erdoğan was responding to demands from Kılıçdaroğlu that Turkey must face its past. Kılıçdaroğlu's family is rooted in Tunceli.
The notorious massacre took place in 1937 in Dersim, which had historically been a semi-autonomous region, as a brutal response to a rebellion. The rebellion was led by Seyyid Rıza, the chief of a Zaza tribe in the region. The Turkish government at the time, led by former CHP leader İsmet İnönü, responded with air strikes and other violent methods of suppression, killing thousands of people.
“Dersim is among the most tragic event in near history. It is a disaster that should be now questioned with courage. The party that should confront this incident is not the ruling Justice and Development Party [AK Party]. It is the CHP, which is behind this bloody disaster, who should face this incident and its chairman from Tunceli,” Erdoğan said targeting Kılıçdaroğlu.
The two politicians have recently clashed over the long-controversial massacre. In the widening debate, Erdoğan said at his party's group meeting in Parliament on Tuesday that he planned to release a number of state documents about the incident on Wednesday. He then read excerpts from archive documents related to the massacre on Wednesday, saying thousands of people, including women and children, were killed during the Dersim operation and that the CHP was the part of the single-party government of the time.
Referring to a document dated 1939, Erdoğan said a total of 13,806 people were killed in operations carried out against the people of Dersim between 1936 and 1939. He said the document bears the signature of then-Interior Minister Faik Öztrak. Another document Erdoğan revealed related to the Dersim events was a Cabinet decree dated Dec. 23, 1938, which said 11,683 people were deported from Dersim and that 2,000 more were to be deported from Dersim.
“All of t these documents have the signatures of İsmet İnönü,” Erdoğan said, criticizing the current CHP leader for organizing commemoration ceremonies for İnönü, but failing to confront the party's past.

1 comment:

Monique said...

serait-ce un début de réel modernisme de la part du gouvernement turc. Peu importe le parti au pouvoir. C'est le gouvernement central qui doit exprimer des excuses. La lumière au bout du tunnel?

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