Dersim groups asks for rights

Dersim groups asks for rights


The apology Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan extended over the Dersim massacres in the late 1930s will make sense only if further steps are taken to address the legacy of the atrocities and the grievances of victims, a prominent advocacy group said yesterday.

The Dersim Associations Federation is not considering legal action for compensations, but the government should introduce a series of other reconciliation measures, including the recognition of the Alevi faith, the group’s chairman Özkan Tacar told reporters in Parliament.

“Tunceli should be renamed back as Dersim. Not only the archives of the prime ministry and the presidency, but those of the General Staff should also be opened. The list of the people who were exiled from Dersim and the girls who were given up for adoption should be revealed,” Tacar said.

He urged the state to also uncover where Seyit Rıza, the leader of the rebellion who prompted the military crackdown, and his comrades were buried after their execution. Places named after “figures offending the people of Dersim” should be renamed, he said, citing Sabiha Gökçen, Atatürk’s adopted daughter who participated in air strikes on Dersim as a military pilot, and the then Army Chief Fevzi Çakmak.

“We demand the recognition of our Alevi faith. Hydroelectric projects in the Munzur Valley [in Tunceli] that would destroy our culture should be halted,” Tacar said. “Only if our demands are met, the apology will make sense.”

Tacar spoke after meetings in Parliament with the deputy group chairmen of the Justice and Development Party (AKP), the Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP).

He quoted AKP Deputy Group Chairman Ahmet Aydın as telling them “the AKP is sincere and will persist on this issue.” CHP Deputy Group Chairman Akif Hamzaçebi, for his part, said he would convey the group’s demands to party leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu.