Arınç proposes inquiry into 1938 Dersim killings

Arınç proposes inquiry into 1938 Dersim killings

ANTALYA / ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Arınç proposes inquiry into 1938 Dersim killings

DHA Photo

Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç has suggested the formation of a parliamentary commission to investigate the 1938 Dersim killings after an intra-party row within the main opposition re-ignited debate over one of the most controversial episodes in Turkey’s republican history.

“In the name of facing up to our history, all the truth about Dersim must be uncovered and the mistakes, if any, of politicians at the time, the reasons for the rebellion, the identities of those who were involved in the rebellion and what happened after the rebellion must be revealed,” Arınç said on the weekend in the Mediterranean province of Antalya.

“An investigation commission could be set up in Parliament on the issue. We are in favor of revealing the truth even if it hurts,” he said.

Arınç said the military crackdown in the Dersim operation was not the only incident that needed to be revisited, highlighting the case of Atıf Hodja of İskilip, an Islamic scholar executed in 1926 after a court passed a death sentence against him without taking a defense.

Hüseyin Aygün, a deputy of the Republican People’s Party (CHP) from Tunceli, the name that Dersim took in later years, stirred fresh tensions within his party last week when he said the CHP, the only legal party at the time, was responsible for the massacres and that the ailing Mustafa Kemal Atatürk was aware of them.

He stood behind his statement on the weekend and urged Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to live up to his pledge to open the state archives on Dersim.

Speaking to CNN Türk television, Aygün said he would meet with President Abdullah Gül at a yet undetermined date to ask him to press for the opening of the archives and task the State Inspection Board to uncover where Seyit Rıza, the leader of the rebellion, and six of his comrades were buried.

Asked about Arınç’s suggestion for a parliamentary inquiry, Gül said the debate should not be blown out of proportions.

“There are no longer taboos in Turkey. Anything can be discussed provided that it is not manipulated and taken out of proportions,” the president said yesterday before departing for a trip to Britain.

Daily Radikal, which has begun publishing a series of articles on the Dersim operation, said the signatures of Atatürk and then prime ministers İsmet İnönü and Celal Bayar featured on the orders of all military operations in Dersim, according to documents available in Parliament’s archives. Fevzi Çakmak, who was chief of General Staff at the time, was in command of almost all operations, Radikal said, adding that Atatürk also signed decrees on the mandatory resettlement of the local Alevi population to other parts of Turkey.