Governor bans march to remember massacre

Governor bans march to remember massacre

KAHRAMANMARAŞ - Doğan News Agency
A commemoration organized by the Alevi-Bektaşi Federation to mark the Kahramanmaraş Massacre’s 33rd anniversary has been postponed by the governor on the grounds that it could lead to provocations by the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

“We believe there is no benefit in reopening old wounds, and we are going to have difficulty in repairing the damage when outsiders express their ideas and emotions in accordance with their ideologies here and provoke us,” Kahramanmaraş Gov. Şükrü Kocatepe said.

The Alevi-Bektaşi Federation, however, roundly condemned the governor’s decision to ban the commemoration in an announcement carried on its website.

“The governor’s office, the Interior Ministry and the police are responsible for taking the necessary security measures rather than banning our commemoration,” read the announcement.

A ceremony will be held Dec. 24 between 11:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. in an empty field next to the Narlı Cemevi, an Alevi house of worship, in the southern province’s Pazarcık district, according to reports.

The Pazarcık District Governor’s Office issued a permit for the event following an application by Hasan Pekgezer, a member of an Alevi association.

At least 111 people, mainly leftists and members of Turkey’s Alevi community, were massacred in Kahramanmaraş province in 1978 by extreme right-wing militants.