Mourning for the Başbağlar victims

Mourning for the Başbağlar victims

A few days ago, the entire country remembered the 27th anniversary of the July 2 Sivas massacre and the blatant murder of 35 people in a hotel burned by a radical mob. It was a very sad anniversary not only for the families of the victims or the Alevi community but for all those who believed the many colors of this society foster incredible and beautiful cultural diversity. Unlike the anniversary of the Sivas massacre, however, the country was rather silent when it came to remembering a similar and indeed worse terrorist attack and murder of 33 civilians, including five women, in Erzincan’s Başbağlar village.

However, very much like what happened at Sivas three days ago, the Başbağlar carnage was a demonstration of the ugly face of radicalism, be it religious, ethnic or ideological terrorism. The culprits of the Sivas murders, those who ordered the carnage, could not be found, even though some zealots were caught and sentenced. The culprit of the Başbağlar massacre, however, was clear right from the beginning. It was the work of a separatist terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) gang.

Even though the PKK’s chieftain, Abdullah Öcalan, claimed at his testimony during the İmrali trials that he was not informed of the massacre, Erzincan’s legendary governor, Recep Yazıcıoğlu, and investigations proved that (to say nothing about the confessions of the group that ambushed the village) the attack was staged by a group of PKK terrorists headed by a commander code-named “Dr. Baran.” The same terrorist group distributed a leaflet claiming responsibility for the massacre.

Unfortunately, the İzmir State Security Court (which no longer exists) ruled in 1998 after 24 court sessions to drop the case due to a lack of grounds for legal action.

What’s worse, all those “progressive” segments of society who have been so critical of the wrongdoings of the state to the Kurds, Alevis and others have preferred to stay silent on Başbağlar and similar atrocities committed by the separatist gang.

Today, even if we cannot do anything, we must remember the victims of the Başbağlar massacre and raise our determined call for justice.

Yusuf Kanlı, Diyarbakır,