Turkish PM refuses to take blame for victimization of Alevis
Sedat Ergin MANILA / ANKARA
Prime Minister Davutoğlu speaks to reporters on board a plane returning to Ankara from the Philippines’ capital Manila, on Nov. 18. AA PhotoIn an apparent response to salvoes by the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has strongly refuted any blame for the sufferings of Alevi citizens.
Davutoğlu also again expressed his bewilderment for the Alevi population’s apparent support for the CHP, saying that Alevis have been victimized under CHP-led governments in the past.
“The Alevism tradition in Turkey was interrupted twice. The first took place when Sultan Mahmud II closed down Bektaşi lodges in the name of modernity. Afterward, during the [CHP’s] single-party rule, measures aimed at these kinds of movements were taken and the perpetuity of Alevism was interrupted. Is the AK Parti [Justice and Development Party, AKP] or Sunnism responsible for this?” he said, speaking to reporters on board a plane returning to Ankara from the Philippines’ capital Manila, on Nov. 18.
“The CHP was in power when Kahramanmaraş happened,” Davutoğlu said, referring to the Maraş massacre of 1978 in which at least 111 people, mostly Alevis, were killed and hundreds of others wounded at the hands of ultra-nationalists backed by state officials.
“When Madımak took place, the SHP [the now dissolved-Social Democratic Populist Party] was a coalition partner. If it is being said that it was committed by the counter-guerrillas, then [late social democrat leader Bülent] Ecevit should have been investigated,” the prime minister added.
Ecevit was the leader of the CHP in 1977, and later led a coalition government in 1999 as the head of the Democratic Left Party (DSP).
Using the byword, “Madımak,” Davutoğlu was referring to the Sivas massacre of 1993 in which 37 intellectuals were killed when a mob of Islamic fundamentalists set the Madımak Hotel alight in the Central Anatolian province of Sivas.
“I have always been baffled how Alevis could support the CHP after all these things have happened ... In the coming days, I will meet with Alevi opinion leaders and we will look into which kind of steps could be taken,” he added.