Opposition plays down Dersim inquiry proposal
ANKARA- Hürriyet Daily News
CHP deputy chair Birgül Ayman Güler speaks at a press conference yesterday after the party’s Central Administration Board meeting. AA photo
The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) has brushed aside Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç’s proposal for a parliamentary inquiry into the 1938 Dersim killings, saying it has lost trust in the government.
“[CHP Chairman] Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu had proposed the opening of the Dersim archives. The ruling party at the time preferred not to answer this proposal,” CHP deputy chair Birgül Ayman Güler told reporters yesterday. “Our trust [in the ruling party] has been very much shaken,” she said, referring to recent derogatory comments by Justice and Development Party (AKP) officials on the CHP’s decision to abandon a parliamentary boycott in July after the two parties signed a joint declaration stressing the need to end the imprisonment of jailed deputies.
Speaking after a meeting of the CHP’s Central Administration Board, Güler said they had appointed two new members to the leadership of the party’s Istanbul branch after recent resignations.
CHP lawmaker Hüseyin Aygün fanned intra-party tensions earlier this month when he said that the CHP’s single-party rule in the 1930s was responsible for the Dersim massacres and that republican founder Mustafa Kemal Atatürk was aware of them. Aygün drew condemnation from a group of fellow CHP deputies, prompting Kılıçdaroğlu, also an Alevi from Tunceli, to call his lawmakers to discipline.
On the weekend, Arınç suggested the formation of a parliamentary commission to investigate the killings, emphasizing the importance of exposing the truth “even if it hurts.”
‘Rename Tunceli as Dersim’
In a related development yesterday, AKP deputy Mehmet Metiner called for the CHP to support proposals to give back Tunceli its original name, “Dersim,” and rename the Sabiha Gökçen Airport.
Gökçen, Atatürk’s adopted daughter, was among the fighter pilots who bombed Dersim as part of a military crackdown on an Alevi rebellion that claimed thousands of lives. “If the CHP welcomes the idea, we can turn this into a joint initiative,” Metiner said in a written statement, claiming that reinstating the name Dersim could be “a first step toward an apology” over the killings.
AKP deputy group chairman Mustafa Elitaş said the proposal was Metiner’s personal idea and that the AKP had not discussed the issue internally.
During the Dersim operation, over 13,000 people were allegedly killed and 22,000 others were driven out of their homes. The Dersim operation was planned and reports were prepared as early as 1920. The law related to the operation was passed in 1935 and action was taken in 1937.