General Staff sends all documents on 1938 Dersim massacre to Parliament

General Staff sends all documents on 1938 Dersim massacre to Parliament

The General Staff has sent all the documents that it has concerning the violent massacre against Alevi rebels in the eastern province of Tunceli, formerly known as Dersim, to a parliamentary commission, the head of the commission said.

Head of Parliament’s Petition Commission Mehmet Daniş, also Çanakkale deputy of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), told Anadolu Agency on June 30 that the commission most recently received 5,000 pages of documents from the General Staff, which increased the total number of pages of documents about the issue handed over by the General Staff to 46,000.

Including the ones from the General Staff, the commission has so far received almost 10,000 pages of documents concerning the Dersim rebellion that occurred between 1936 and 1939 and resulted in the death of 13,800 people.

The documents from the General Staff include maps, private letters, official dispatches, intelligence reports, assessments, daily reports, troop transfers, lists of fugitives, arms collected in Dersim, propaganda activities, public order incidents in the related region, security precautions and separatism and espionage activities.

Information about the capture of Seyit Rıza, the leader of the uprising in Dersim and chief of an Alevi-Zaza tribe in the region, as well as visits of then-prime minister İsmet İnönü and then-chief of general staff Fevzi Çakmak to the region are also cases within the documents.

Documents which were handed over by the General Staff to the Parliament in 2012 revealed that the Turkish army launched a black propaganda campaign against Seyit Rıza. Among other things, the campaign claimed that he was uncircumcised, and also tried to dissuade support from the rebel leader by convincing the public that he was originally Armenian.

“Prisoners who were sent to western provinces will be executed and the uncircumcised boys will be given Armenian names and banished to Christian countries. Unmarried girls of Tunceli will be married to Turkish men and Turkish girls will be married to the men of Tunceli. People of Tunceli will be replaced in the following spring month. The fact that hanged Seyit Rıza was uncircumcised would look unpleasant in the eyes of the public and that has become an inspiration and propaganda material for opportunists...” read one of the documents issued on Dec. 30, 1937.

Another document issued on Sep 11, 1937, said Rıza had surrendered with his two abettors to the military officials. The document said Rıza was exhausted the day he surrendered and demanded to testify the following day.