CHP head says Dersim lands should be returned
Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu (L), the leader of the opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), prays during a visit to the family of of a soldier killed clashes with the PKK.
Turkey’s main opposition leader yesterday rebuked Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan over comments on the 1930s Dersim killings, charging that the latter’s apology on the issue was inadequate.
“You need to follow up on your apology. There are the Dersim deportations. The archives pertaining to those deportations also need to be made public. You ought to return the lands of those deported families. We have no problems if you can do that,” Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, the leader of the opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), said while speaking at the Assembly Hall of the Kozyatağı Cultural Center of Istanbul’s Kadıköy Municipality.
Kılıçdaroğlu said he had previously requested the documents Erdoğan presented while making his apology on Nov. 23, but added that he was denied permission. The people of Dersim in eastern Turkey would not allow their pain to be exploited for political ends by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), the CHP leader added.
“It does not suffice to apologize. None of the documents he disclosed are new. The book he disclosed is the same book I read in the 1970s. Apologizing is inadequate, you ought to open up the state’s archives,” said Kılıçdaroğlu, who is from Tunceli, the name Dersim was given in 1930.
Turkey’s primary concern at the moment is not about local governments but about facing up to history in a frank manner, Kılıçdaroğlu said.
“Mr. Prime Minister, your duty is to open up the state’s archives in addition to apologizing. When you open them up, then we are also going to see the true documents. Then we can sit down and face our history,” he said.
Kılıçdaroğlu said he had already told a journalist that an apology by Erdoğan was in order as he is the country’s prime minister.
“Fortunately, he apologized yesterday [Nov. 23]. It does not suffice to apologize, however,” he said, adding that it would nonetheless be sufficient to partially open the state’s archives.
Every country maintains confidential documents, but such files ought to be disclosed after a certain period expires, Kılıçdaroğlu said.
British and American documents are also accessible by the public and Turkey’s past can also be traced in those documents, he said. The CHP had brought a motion before Parliament for such documents to be made publicly available in Turkey as well, but the motion was rejected by AKP deputies, he added.
In the late 1930s, the Turkish military conducted an operation in the area of Dersim killing thousands of people.
Compiled from Doğan news agency and Anatolia news agency stories by the Daily News staff in Istanbul.