NGOs in Dersim say they don’t accept PM’s apology

NGOs in Dersim say they don’t accept PM’s apology

Ferit Demir - TUNCELİ / Doğan News Agency
NGOs in Dersim say they don’t accept PM’s apology

Participants in the rally demanded the atrocity experienced in Dersim in 1938 to be determined in the legal sense and the name Dersim to be returned. DHA photo

Several municipalities from the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) and 44 nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) held a demonstration in the eastern province of Tunceli, saying that they reject Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s apology for the Dersim killings of the late 1930s.

In a six-point declaration announced at the rally, the group demanded that the those responsible be identified, the grave sites of Seyit Rıza and his friends be disclosed, a Fact Finding Commission be formed, an apology in Parliament to the Dersim people on behalf of the state be issued and that the city be renamed Dersim instead of Tunceli. 

BDP Deputy Demir Çelik, Tunceli Mayor Edibe Şahin, singer Ferhat Tunç and five people, including one woman, who survived the 1938 incidents with injuries participated in the rally with nearly 5,000 people coming from various provinces of the country. Groups that gathered in front of the state hospital carried posters that were signed as “The people of Dersim” that read, “For a genuine apology, open up the archives. Return our name back to us. Disclose the location of our grave sites. Form a fact finding commission.” Participants gathered at the square where the statue of Seyit Rıza stood, the person who was executed with seven friends after Dersim incidents. 

The first one to speak in the rally was 86-year-old Emoş Bakıray, one of the people who survived the 1938 incidents. Bakıray who spoke in Zazaish, one of the local Kurdish languages, said,

“I was a small child at that time but I remember everything. They have killed thousands, including women, children and the elderly. They had no mercy on anyone. Some of us survived by hiding among dead bodies.Some others ran away and hid in the forest without food and water for days. What was our crime, what was our sin, why did they execute us by firing squads, nobody explained any of those to us and we could not understand why up until this very moment.” 

The rally that lasted nearly two hours ended peacefully.