Commemorations held for Madımak
SİVAS - Doğan News Agency
Some 15,000 people march to comemorate the Madımak massacre in Sivas.
Rival commemorations were held in the Central Anatolian province of Sivas yesterday for the 35 people who were killed in a 1993 arson attack on a hotel that was hosting an Alevi festival.
The 19th anniversary of the massacre was commemorated yesterday, with the first commemoration carried out by city protocol in the former building of the Madımak Hotel. Marching from the governor’s building, Governor Ali Kolat, Mayor from the Great Unity Party (BBP) Doğan Ürgüp, Chief of Police Ahmet Kemal Seyhan and managers of various institutions came to former Madımak Hotel building, which is now home to the Center of Science and Culture.
“Dark forces caused such provocative incidents in other parts of our country as well. They try to plunge us into the darkness and cast a shadow on our future. As governorship, municipality, and public institutions, we curse this tragedy. We wish such unfortunate events will not happen again, and we will leave our flowers here for this wish. This pain will not harm our national unity and solidarity,” Governor Kolat said. “There are some claims that the state does not protect this area, but this is wrong. Last year, we were here with our minister Faruk Çelik. We will never forget this pain,” he added.
After the governor and protocol members, about 15,000 people from the different cities of Turkey and abroad began marching after assembling in the Seyrantepe neighborhood of Sivas at 11:00 a.m. Relatives of the massacre victims lead the group, which marched through the former Hotel Madımak building from Mevlana Street with slogans and banners. During the march, action force units closed the end of the street and the group was not allowed to pass through the hotel building. Police units and organization committee members had an argument about the decision made upon the Interior Ministry’s order. From the Republican People’s Party (CHP), deputy chairman Sezgin Tanrıkulu, the deputy group chair Muharrem İnce, Tunceli deputy Kamer Genç, Sivas deputy Malik Ecder Özdemir, Tunceli deputy Hüseyin Aygün, Istanbul deputy Sabahat Akkiraz and Malatya deputy Veli Ağbaba was also in Sivas for the organization. Along with the organization committee members, they negotiated with Governor Ali Kolat about getting permission, but after the negotiation the police line-up was opened and the group was allowed to go to the front of the former hotel building, although they were not allowed to enter the building.