Commemoration of Maraş massacre prevented on 36th anniversary
DHA PhotoA group gathered in the southern province of Kahramanmaraş Dec. 21 to commemorate at least 111 Alevis that were killed by right-wing extremists 36 years ago, but the annual ceremony was the subject of controversy once more as authorities refused to permit outsiders to attend the remembrance.
The chair of the Alevi-Bektashi Federation, Fevzi Gümüş, said the activities for the 36th anniversary of the Maraş incidents were banned and that Alevi citizens coming from other cities were not allowed entry.
This ban was “making the victim a victim again one more time,” Gümüş said, adding that it “embraced and supported the massacre.”
A group of 100 people marching with banners chanting slogans were stopped at the Narlı junction of the Gaziantep highway. They were asked to turn back by gendarmerie and police teams that were reinforced with troops coming from neighboring provinces.
The group did not return but sat down on the highway. Pazarcık District Gov. Mehmet Boztepe and Gendarmerie Cmdr. Col. Coşkun Doğan spoke with demonstrators for a while in an effort to dissuade them from their action.
Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Istanbul deputy Sebahat Tuncel condemned the Maraş incidents and said it was time Turkey was not mentioned in the same breath as massacres.
Meanwhile, some 2,200 police were on duty in the city as part of security measures, while a police helicopter was seen patrolling over the city throughout the day.
Ahead of the anniversary of the massacre, right-wing groups distributed fliers calling for long life to the “Turkish race” and inviting people to come “celebrate” the killings.