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DERSIM - never forget - never forgive - never trust Turks

A place to talk about domestic politics in Middle East (Iran, Iraq , Turkey, Syria) Also includes topics about Assyrian, Armenian, Chaldean .

Re: MUST read the true horror of the DERSIM massacres

PostAuthor: Anthea » Mon May 27, 2019 1:55 am

New book documents folktales of Dersim

A group of villagers - men women and children - gather around a fire after as an elder shares folktales in Dersim in eastern Turkey, an area where most of the inhabitants belong to the country’s biggest ethnic minority – the Kurds – and its biggest religious minority – the Alevis, a heterodox Muslim sect that has for years been sidelined and often persecuted in Turkey

The scene was repeated many times as author and film director Caner Canerik travelled the area, known as Tunceli in Turkish, to collect the stories and compile them in a book entitled “Dersim Masalları 1” (The Stories of Dersim 1) published last month. The book shares 49 folktales from the area, part of his effort to keep alive the traditions of the town and province of the same name.

Dersim was subject to one of the most painful chapters in Turkish history when troops brutally suppressed an uprising by Alevi Kurds, killing an estimated 13,000 to 70,000 people in 1937 and 1938. The leader of the revolt, Seyit Rıza, was executed in 1937.

Born in Dersim, Canerik spent the 1990s in Istanbul where he worked for various TV stations and newspapers. In 2004, he began conducting research for his first novel “Gulazare”, which he wrote in 2007 and published in 2011. He also has made 11 movies.

Canerik worked on the folktales project for a year to record the stories he believes are dying out with the tradition of storytelling in the heavily forested and rugged mountainous area whose villages are often cut off for months by snow in the winter. Dersim, like much of the Kurdish majority east and southeast, is home to the Dengbêj tradition, coming from the words deng (voice) and bej (tell).

“Stories live as long as they are told. The moment they are written down, it is as though we’ve placed a period at the end. They are now confined to a single frame, ” Canerik said.

“It is unfortunate that stories are no longer being narrated to new generations. If today we are talking about Dersim’s culture fading away, then surely we have all played a role in this. I wish we could continue the tradition of folktale narration alive,” he said.

Folktales are not narrated for fun, he said, but as stories of times past that are meant to serve as lessons, particularly for children.

Canerik said one of the storytellers he worked with, Abbas Saylı, had recently passed away. The author said he felt blessed to have recorded the stories of a man he called, “among the most brilliant storytellers of our time”.

“Today, most of the storytellers are women. Many of the leaders who have committed stories to memory unfortunately see storytelling as a form of entertainment; maybe this is how it was perceived during their youth and they don’t wish to waste time telling stories,” Canerik said.

One night after an elder shared a folktale, Canerik asked the source of the story.

“This story was shared by Seyit Rıza to his friends and family at home. And someone who heard it there shared it with me,” the person said.

https://ahvalnews.com/culture/new-book- ... led-dersim
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Re: MUST read the true horror of the DERSIM massacres

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Re: DERSIM is called DERSIM again - never forget what Turks

PostAuthor: Anthea » Thu Jul 25, 2019 9:29 pm

Four-day festival of culture
resurges in city of Dersim


A four-day festival of culture came to life in the Kurdish city of Dersim on Thursday

The Dersim Culture and Nature Festival, is aiming to promote local beliefs, culture and languages through panel discussions, concerts and other cultural activities.

Dersim is considered to be the heartland of the Alevis - a religious sect whose followers believe in the mystical teachings of Imam Ali. Its inhabitants mainly speak Zazaki, a distinct branch of the Kurdish language.

The area hosting the festival is named after Seyid Riza, a political leader from Zaza origin who fought for Zaza Kurdish rights during the Dersim rebellion of the late 1930s.

Its opening day was attended by local officials and lawmakers, including some from the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) and the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP).

The festival had not been held since, reportedly due to a ban from the pro-government administrator.

Fatih Macoglu, incumbent mayor of Dersim from the Communist Party of Turkey (TKP), told Rudaw that the festival was dedicated to the memory of Ayaz, 8, and Nupelda, 4, two local children killed in mid-July by a mine.

“We saw it significant to dedicate this festival to Ayaz and Nupelda, who unfortunately were killed by a mine. Most of the activities of the festival are dedicated for children,” Macoglu said.

Link to Article - Photos:

https://www.rudaw.net/english/kurdistan/250720193
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Re: DERSIM is called DERSIM again - never forget what Turks

PostAuthor: Anthea » Wed Aug 07, 2019 7:27 pm

Just a reminder of why Kurds
cannot ever be friends with Turks


The way Kurds have been behaving recently, I do think they have to remember their history:

The Dersim Massacre

Between March 1937 and December 1938 Turkish troops attacked Dersim killing countless THOUSANDS of Kurds in the most horrific and barbarous ways possible

Estimates of the final toll range couls be more than 13,000

This was followed by the forced relocated of many thousands of Kurds

Nobody can even guess at the final number of deaths caused by barbaric Turks X(
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Re: DERSIM is called DERSIM again - never forget what Turks

PostAuthor: Anthea » Mon May 04, 2020 11:45 pm

83rd anniversary of Dersim genocide

83 years have passed, and yet Turkey is not willing to acknowledge this Genocide like many other Kurdish Genocides

Those responsible for the deaths of thousands of people have never been tried nor have they been brought out into light. The broken families could never discover their past.

Thousands of people still haven’t received news from their families and close friends. The whereabouts of the Kurdish children taken by the Turkish Government at the time are unknown.

Many other world countries who have had a similar experiences and committed genocide against its people have acknowledged the injustice and sorrow they have caused and have apologised.

However Turkey is continuing to resist and use “it does not exist” strategy with the Kurdish Genocide just as they have with the Armenian Genocide."

The military campaign against Dersim was mounted in response to a relatively minor incident, and it would seem that the army had been waiting for a direct reason to punish the tribes.

One day in March 1937, a strategic wooden bridge was burned down and telephone lines cut. Seyyit Riza and the tribes associated with him were suspected. The army may have believed this to be the beginning of the expected rebellion.

One Turkish source mentions that there was around the same time another minor incident elsewhere in Kurdistan and suggests coordination by Kurdish nationalists.

The first troops, sent in to arrest the suspects, were stopped by armed tribesmen. The confrontations soon escalated. When the tribes kept refusing to surrender their leaders, a large campaign was mounted.

Military operations to subdue the region lasted throughout the summer of 1937. In September, Seyyit Riza and his closest associates surrendered, but the next spring the operations were resumed with even greater force. They must have been of unprecedented violence and brutality.

The number of slaughtered people will never be known but could be as many as 70-90 thousand according to the people of Dersim. More than 10 thousand people were exiled.

The torture and slaughter was of a level never before seen as knives were used to save bullets and many women and children were thrown alive on bonfires, thrown onto rocks, burnt to death as they sheltered in caves
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Re: 83 years since DERSIM - never forget never forgive Turk

PostAuthor: Anthea » Mon May 11, 2020 10:20 pm

Re Musa Anter's book
Hatıralarım (My Memories)


Extract: Dersim massacre through the memories of prominent Kurdish writer Musa Anter

It took until 2011 for senior Turkish political leadership to formally apologise for the mass killings.

"If there is need for an apology on behalf of the state, if there is such a practice in the books, I would apologise and I am apologising," incumbent Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in a televised remark in November 2011.

However, many viewed his apology as an empty ploy to win the voting favour of Kurds in the southeast of the country.

In his two-volume book Hatıralarım (My Memories), prominent Kurdish writer and journalist Musa Anter narrates the massacre through officers who, while Anter was a student taking part in compulsory military training, recounted their involvement in the killings.

Anter was born in 1920 in Mardin province. He later moved to Adana to complete his junior, high school and further education.

While a college student in Adana, Anter worked as a reporter for the Turkish-language Vakit newspaper. He has written a number of books in both Kurdish and Turkish.

Anter wrote My Memories from 1991 until 1992 – the year he was assassinated while in Diyarbakir to attend a festival.

“The leader of the Dersim revolution was Seyid Riza. His respected wife was Bese, who led a unit of the guerilla fighters. Almost every day, Bese was attacked by the media in Istanbul. These attacks made me very sad. I protested the attacks. My friends felt this. Half-jokingly and half-seriously, they would call me ‘the grandson of Bese.’ One day in class, they pinned a piece of paper on my back, which read ‘the grandson of Bese.’ When the teacher left the class, the students began laughing at me and teased me,” Anter writes.

He adds that one night, a group of 8-10 students all cursed Bese in his presence – so Anter retaliated by cursing Zubeyda, the mother of Ataturk.

“We took the incident as a joke. However, my classmate Kenan the son of an officer at Adana’s Kurukopru police station, informed his father about the incident. Later, a police team came and took me to the police station. I was detained there for 15 days. This was my first detention.”

The principal of the school went to the police station and told them that Anter only cursed Zubeyda after he was provoked by other students – resulting in his release.

“When I returned to school, nine of my friends who were involved in the incident were expelled. I thought the case was closed. Two months after the incident, I was summoned by the principal. When I entered, I saw a foreign-looking man sitting there. He was Adana’s public prosecutor. He took out a paper and read it out, then made me sign it.

Ataturk had been asked whether he intended to file a lawsuit against me but he had responded in the negative. The prosecutor said, ‘Look my son. Ataturk has pardoned you. Do not repeat such childish behaviour.’ I thanked the prosecutor coldly and left after kissing the principal’s hand.”

Anter says that the mass killings “affected all honest Kurds. So many crimes and genocides were carried out that it was impossible not to be sad.”

The witnesses

In reference to a memoir by former Turkish commander Muhsin Batur, published circa 1958, Anter says that the commander indirectly confesses to killing people in the Dersim massacre “‘after receiving an order from Ankara.’”

He later refers to a February 1990 televised interview with Sabiha Gokcen, Turkey’s first female military pilot, where she indirectly confessed to having taken part in the incident. Known as “the Hero Pilot,” Gokcen was the adopted daughter of Ataturk.

“In the past, high school and university students had to attend a paramilitary camp for 20 days after the end of the academic year, for three years and two years respectively,” says Anter, who adds that he attended similar camp in 1941 and saw a Turkish commander confess his involvement in the mass killings.

“One day, we were taking a break under a tree in the camp. Secaettin, commander of our division, began talking about the events of Dersim with enthusiasm,” Anter writes. He then shares one of the commander’s stories about his involvement in the killings with the reader:

“We had begun sweeping operations in Dersim. We found many families in a cave. They consisted of grandparents, fathers, mothers and children who aged 5-6. We killed the adults with machetes. We did not kill the children so that we could trick them to speak [about the rebellion], because we failed to get anything from the mouths of Dersim’s adults. We would kill them immediately because we knew they would not say anything.

We would kill the parents and grandparents of the children out of their sight so that they would not be terrified...We tried to befriend a child. We gave him food and candy but he refused to eat them. At that moment, one of our aircrafts flew overhead. The child...picked up a stick, held it like a gun and aimed it at our aircraft. This made me very angry and I ordered: “Finish off this bastard.” The soldiers began attacking him with a machete, and after killing him, they threw his body off the cliff,” Anter quotes the commander as saying.

The commander went on to narrate another of his memories of the Dersim genocide.

“Again we were maneuvering through a wide field. We collected thousands of Kurds from caves while they were sleeping. Our commander ordered us to throw them all into the Munzur River to die rather than killing them [by gunshot] because this required too many bullets.

We took the Kurds we had collected, to the edge of Munzur Bridge. The river was very deep and wild. We took these [people] and threw them into the river: some threw themselves in, while others were forced to do so,” continued the commander as per Anter.

The hostages held each other to form a chain, fearing they would have to throw themselves into the river. The soldiers were ordered to use sticks from nearby oak trees to beat the hostages until they jumped to their death. “Some soldiers were ordered to shoot anyone in the river who tried to swim for survival,” the commander said according to Anter.

The third incident the commander narrated to Anter and others in his camp division was the rape of a 12- or 13-year-old Kurdish child, which he said he committed with a number of other soldiers.

Anter ends the book by saying he wrote the book not to spread hatred or a desire to retaliate, but so “people can hate incidents of this kind.”

https://www.rudaw.net/english/kurdistan/09052020

I do NOT believe in violence

Kurds must NEVER sink to Turkish levels of barbarism

Kurds must ALWAYS remember Turks are NOT their friends

Turks are genetically BARBARIC and must NEVER be trusted
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Re: 83 years since DERSIM - never forget never forgive Turk

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sun Nov 28, 2021 1:27 am

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Eyewitnesses of Dersim Massacre

In a special documentary, eyewitnesses recount one of the bloodiest chapters of Kurdish history - the Dersim Massacre. Tens of thousands of Kurds were brutally killed by Turkish soldiers in Dersim (Tunceli) province in a campaign that began in March 1937 after Kurdish political leader Seyid Riza rebelled against the government

Lasting for nearly two years, the rebellion was met with repression by Mustafa Kamal Ataturk’s Turkish army, bombing from the air and using poisonous gas against the restive Kurds. Up to 45,000 people were killed.

“They burned our villages and farms. There was no bread. When the night fell, people would go to their burnt farms to pick some wheat. They would also grind it to be like flour. There was no salt either. We would find some water and share it all among ourselves,” survivor Hasan Alparslan recalled.

Sabriye Arslan, another eyewitness, remembered the day the soldiers arrived. “They came to the plateau and took us. They deceived people. My father told my mother, ‘Ejma, do not be afraid. They will displace us.’ What displacement? They gathered us and began to kill. That was it.”

“They made three long queues of people, setting up heavy weapons in front of them. Then, I heard the sound of gunshots and everyone fell on the ground. I screamed, ‘Daddy … Daddy! Who were they? Why did they do that?’ He replied, ‘Do not freak out. Our turn will come as well,” said another eyewitness, Riza Cicek.

It took until 2011 for the Turkish political leadership to formally apologise for the massacre.

"If there is need for an apology on behalf of the state, if there is such a practice in the books, I would apologise and I am apologising," then Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in a televised remark in November 2011. Erdogan is now president.

Many viewed his apology as a ploy to win over Kurdish votes.

Kurds annually commemorate the massacre on May 4.

The documentary was produced by Rudaw in 2020.

Link to Article - Video:

https://www.rudaw.net/english/middleeas ... y/27112021
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Re: NEW documentary on DERSIM - never forget never forgive T

PostAuthor: Anthea » Wed May 18, 2022 3:22 am

Alevis and the myths of
    the mountain goats
Ali Ekber Frik, a 74-year-old dede, or spiritual leader, tells an old story in a low, raspy voice, his plump fingers playing with prayer beads. He’s in Ovacik, a small town in Turkey’s Tunceli province, known by locals as Dersim

Behind him a shepherd watches over his flock of sheep near a graveyard as the late afternoon sun envelops green rolling hills in its warm glow.

“Perhaps 150 years ago, three people came from Kemah [a nearby town] to the foot of the Munzur Mountains, and they were very hungry,” he says.

“Seeing a fire in a cave, they approached and saw that four or five people had butchered a mountain goat, and were waiting as it cooked. The travellers said: ‘We are very hungry, we came here for a piece of bread, but we don't eat mountain goat and if you ask us, you shouldn't either,’ and they immediately left, even though they were starving.”

The travellers, like Frik, were Alevis, Turkey’s largest religious minority, and they consider the mountain goats sacred. Dersim is chiefly inhabited by a long-persecuted people who are a minority of a minority.

They are Zaza Kurds, otherwise known as Kirmanc, speaking a dialect different from Kurdish peoples found elsewhere in Turkey and the region. Their form of Alevism is also different from that followed by the related Bektasi Alevis, who are ethnically Turkish and have been more influenced by Shia Islam.

Alevis suffered repression, surveillance and massacres under the Sunni Ottoman sultans who considered them heretics.

Ferociously independent, Dersim was never fully under government control until an uprising in 1938-39 was crushed by the state.

These same mountains that protected the Zaza Alevis before the advent of modern warfare became the site of their massacre. Soldiers dropped bodies from cliffs into the Munzur River and lit fires at the mouths of sealed caves, sucking the oxygen out of the people trapped inside.

The Zaza Alevis consider not just mountain goats, but all living things sacred, and all things that contribute to life, such as the sun and water.

The Zaza Alevis’ heterodox, mystical belief system known as Raa Haqi, was influenced by pre-Islamic Anatolian shamanistic practices, Zoroastrianism, Buddhism, Armenian Christianity, and only later by Shia Islam. Unlike most members of Turkey’s other Alevi communities, many Zaza Alevis reject the label of Muslim.

    They consider not just mountain goats, but all living things sacred, and all things that contribute to life, such as the sun and water. They worship nature itself. Older generations in Dersim say prayers to the sun and moon, but they say this practice is now being lost
Dersim, particularly in the Munzur Valley National Park, has the most diverse ecosystem in Turkey. The Park is teeming with over 1,500 plant species, 43 of which are endemic, and is home to animals such as the brown bear, Eurasian lynx, wildcat, gray wolf, and wild boar.

“We call mountain goats, honey bees, and weasels in the mountain sacred. Because they don’t harm anyone, they are sacred. We don't kill them,” explains Frik.

To show the value of nature in their beliefs, he recites an old poem about the sacredness of trees, and the role that wood has played in holy objects, such as the cradle of the Kaaba (the holiest site in Islam) or the saddle of the Imam Ali, whom Alevis revere.

“That is how much we value trees, since time immemorial, and the trees love us back. Even though our forests burn, they never give up on us,” Frik says. Turkey, as elsewhere in the world, has experienced an uptick in forest fires due to climate change.

This reverence for nature is why Dersim residents are so disturbed by the hunters who sometimes come to take their sacred mountain goats as trophies. The goats, some species of which are endangered, are protected by Turkey’s Ministry of Forestry and Water Affairs, but the government says older animals are allowed to be hunted in limited quantities, and that 60 per cent of the money earned from the tenders goes back to local villages.

This past summer, activists launched a campaign to ban mountain goat hunting in the region and the Dersim Cultural and Natural Heritage Conservation Initiative filed a lawsuit requesting cancellation of the tenders. The ministry responded by suspending a tender it had opened to hunt 17 goats, and promised to conduct an investigation, taking into consideration local customs and beliefs.

Local environmentalists don’t particularly care whether the hunting is done legally or not, they are horrified by it, and want it forbidden without exception. “We’ve watched as killers coming from outside the province and from different European countries hunt Dersim’s most important species,” said activist Hasan Sen of the organization Munzur Protection. “The authorities close their eyes to massacres.”

‘The property of saints’

For the Alevis, killing such holy creatures isn’t just senseless and immoral, but a dreadful sin. Transgressors are traditionally outcast and labelled as duskun, or "fallen". “In the old days when people did this, they would be sent into exile,” says 68-year-old dede, Zeynel Batar, in the village of Kedek.

“There was a guy in our village who’d go after the mountain goats. We warned him many times not to. One day he plunged off the rocks and died. They didn't even wash his body in the square.”

Though Zaza Alevis consider all wild animals holy, mountain goats, of which there are several local varieties, are especially sacred. “They are the property of saints,” Batar explains.

“These goats eat special grass but when it’s wintertime the mountains are full of snow and what do they eat? Their food comes from the unknown, brought by the saints.”

Three mythical saints are said to be the goats’ shepherds - Sarik Sivan, Sıx Ahmet Dede, and Duzgun Baba. Duzgun - which might be a Turkicised version of a Zaza word meaning sharp rocks or cliffs - is the most famous of them.

On Duzgun Baba mountain, near the town of Nazimiye, 27-year-old dede Kaya Celik climbs the stairs carved into the mountainside and recalls the legend of the holiest of the shepherd saints.

Though there are many versions, according to most, Duzgun’s original name was Sah Haydar, and he was the son of an important religious leader, Kures Baba. Haydar was known for having well-fed goats, even in the winter when food was scarce, and this made his father curious.

“One day, Kures Baba follows his son and the flock and sees that when Haydar touched the oak trees with his staff, the trees would turn green. This was a miracle! When his father sees this, he is both proud but also shocked that his son has surpassed him,” Celik says.

But then, one of Sah's sheep picks up the scent of the shepherd’s father and sneezes. Sah Haydar chuckles and says, “What’s wrong little sheep, did you smell my dad Kureso Khurr?”, using a nickname with which a son shouldn’t call his father in a culture where elders are revered. He turns around, and seeing that his father really is there, leaps to the top of the mountain in shame, disappearing into another realm. After that, he was remembered as Duzgun Baba, and the mountain bears his namesake.

    'Each flock has a leader, an old male goat that has a long beard'

    - Kaya Celik, Zaza Alevis spiritual leader
“A couple of animals followed Sah, and his father brought the rest of the flock down. We believe that the goats wandering around this mountain right now are those that followed Duzgun Baba, and are therefore divine,” Celik says.

Higher up on the mountain, past the Alevi shrine, or ziyaret, with a fountain pouring ice-cold water into the mouths of grateful pilgrims, a young man named Murat Babayigit nimbly scales across the jagged rock surface, pointing to a very narrow cave, just large enough to crawl through.

“Duzgun Baba’s bed is in this cave,” Babayigit says. “It’s a sacred place. You feel content up here, happy.”

Still higher, at the very top, lies Duzgun’s grave, a large pile of grey stones, surrounded by various smaller cairns. The sun and moon - both sacred to the Alevis - are presiding together over opposite ends of the early evening sky.

Powerful bond

The endless, jagged mountains seen from here have protected the people of Dersim and other marginalised communities for hundreds of years during various waves of persecution.

In the 1990s, thousands of villages and hamlets in over a dozen provinces in the east and southeast were emptied and scorched by the military, in government operations against the armed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

The Turkish interior ministry later launched a project to return Kurds to their homes, called the "Return to Village and Rehabilitation Project". The government-funded project ran from 1999-2015 at a cost of 200m Turkish lira, which at the time was the equivalent of $72m, but was criticised as ineffective by Human Rights Watch.

According to the Interior Ministry, during the fight against the PKK, 62,448 houses were emptied and 386,000 people were forced to emigrate. Now just 28,834 houses are occupied by the people who used to live in them. A total of 187,000 people returned to their villages in 14 provinces, including Dersim.

Over the years, sporadic tensions and clashes have been reported in the province - in 1994, six teachers in Dersim were killed by PKK fighters. Last year during clashes between the PKK and the Turkish military, one soldier was killed and three others wounded.

But this long history of unrest has only strengthened the people’s bond to the land, the animals and each other. “Alevis went to the mountains to run away from tyrants, and when they got there, they saw the mountain goats,” Frik said.

“Every time we go there - when we take our flocks there, when we plant garlic, when we pick mushrooms - we are together.”

https://www.middleeasteye.net/discover/ ... -goat-myth
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Re: DERSIM - never forget - never forgive - never trust Turk

PostAuthor: Anthea » Fri Jun 10, 2022 9:42 pm

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Dersim means resistance

After a two-year break due to the coronavirus pandemic, the traditional Dersim Festival took place in Frankfurt am Main for the twelfth time. The two-day festival was organised by the Democratic Alevi Federation of Europe (FEDA) and the Dersim Federation of Europe (ADEF)

Panel discussions and the Alevi ritual Muhabbet Cemi took place on the first day, while the second day started with the documentary "1994" by Devrim Tekinoğlu. The documentary is about the village burnings in Dersim.

The stage program started with Pir Ali Bali and Narin Ana. Performances by Stêra Müzik Topluluğu, Grup Munzur, Beşer Şahin, Doğan Çelik, Lale Koçgün, Mikail Aslan, Levent Özdemir, Serhad Med, Varvara and a Davul Zurna group followed.

Hülya Yer, the co-chair of the Dersim Construction Committee (DIK), spoke about the Dersim massacre in 1937/38. According to Hülya Yer, the same way of thinking that was responsible for the genocide of the Alevi population at that time can be seen today in the attacks on the guerrilla areas in South Kurdistan.

She also said that Alişer and Zarife's resistance at the time was continued by people like Sakine Cansiz, Aysel Doğan and thousands of "nameless heroes".

HDP MP Kemal Bülbül said that Dersim is synonymous with resistance. Armenian journalist Hayko Bağdat added: “Everyone in this place has suffered from the Turkish state. We, on the other hand, value ourselves and our differences. I am warmly welcomed by all Alevi and Kurdish families in Europe.”

There was great interest at the festival in the book stands set up on the site. Dozens of authors such as Hatip Dicle, Sefkan Botan, Kemal Aktaş, Erdoğan Yalgın, Aziz Tunç and İmam Canpolat were present and wrote dedications in their books. Thousands of people attended the festival

Link to Article - Photos - Video:

https://anfenglishmobile.com/culture/de ... ance-60362.
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Re: DERSIM - never forget - never forgive - never trust Turk

PostAuthor: Anthea » Thu Nov 10, 2022 11:58 am

Dersim Genocide Survivor Dies

Bego Polat, whose mother and three siblings were murdered in front of his eyes in the Dersim Genocide carried out by the Turkish state, died at the age of 93

Bego (Bedri) Polat, who was a witness and one of the victims of the 1938 Dersim Genocide in Dersim, died on Wednesday evening. Polat had been in intensive care for two days.

"Dersim 38 witness Bego Polat marched to Hakka. We are saddened by the loss of Uncle Bego, one of the many beautiful people who were witnesses of the massacre, exiles and death. Condolences to his family and the people of Dersim in particular.”

About Bego Polat

Bego Polat wrote about the massacre that took place in Dersim between 1937-38, based on his experiences. Polat, whose mother and 3 siblings were killed in front of his eyes when he was only 9 years old, and whose bodies were thrown into the water, survived with injuries.

Polat's experiences in those years were written down and made into a book by his daughter Rose Polat Agum. Having taken note of her father's stories since her childhood, Agum published a book titled "Dersim 1938 and After" in order to record these testimonies.

Bego Polat, who was born to a family of 6 children in the village of Körkez in the center of Dersim, witnessed the biggest massacre in the city center. According to the narrations in the book about those years, before the massacre took place, his father, Hasan Polat, was taken to the police station by the soldiers one morning.

However, days passed and he was never heard from again. Thereupon, Polat's two older brothers, Ali and Hüseyin, decide to join the insurgents. The soldiers killed most of the family in front of Bego Polat’s eyes, his mother Humar and his sisters Elif, Bira (4) and Hatice (6) and throw them into the water along with Polat, who they thought was also dead.

However, Polat, survived. He realized that 2 fingers of his right hand are broken. He reached a nearby village and asked for help. He was then transported to his brothers who were in the mountains and lived with them in the mountains until the Amnesty Law was passed, thus avoiding the massacre.

Roj Bash Kurdistan also offers condolences to the family and friends of Bego Polat =((

We wish to remind people that although the genocide was ordered and carried out by the Turkish State, the soldiers themselves were happy to carry out those orders with a great deal of gusto and barbarism as they tore unborn babies from their mothers wombs, set fire to cave entrances killing all sheltering inside, disemboweling living humans, throwing people from rocks or onto large bonfires: Turks are mentally twisted barbaric sub-humans
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Re: DERSIM - never forget - never forgive - never trust Turk

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sat Nov 19, 2022 12:35 am

Cilck Photo to Enlarge:
1402

Execution of Seyit Riza 85 years ago

15 November marked the 85th anniversary of the execution of Seyt Riza. Commemorations have taken place in Dersim and many other cities

Seyit Riza (1863 – 1937) was an Alevi, Zaza-Kurdish political leader from the Dersim region of North Kurdistan (today part of the Turkish state). He is known and remembered in the Kurdish Liberation Movement as the chieftain of the Dersim Rebellion, a military uprising that happened during the years 1937 and 1938 to protest the oppression of the Kurdish people by the Turkish state.

This revolt was the 27th Kurdish uprising since the creation of the Turkish State in 1923.

The Dersim revolt took place in the continuity of the multiple Kurdish uprisings that followed the process of the Turkish nation-state formation after the fall of the Ottoman empire. All those uprisings were caused because of the Turkification of the country by its first president, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.

Indeed, from his accession to power in 1923 until his death in 1928, the latter pursued a repressive policy of homogenization of the country by imposing the Turkish ethnic identity in every aspect of social life:

from the language that people speak in the streets to the language to be taught at schools, from the education to the industrial life, from the trade to the cadres of state officials, from the civil law to the settlement of citizens to particular regions

Note that this policy did not change at all and continue to live in today’s Erdogan’s policy. Many minorities protested against it, but their revolts have all been drowned in blood.

Nevertheless, until 1936, the mountainous region of Dersim, known for its rebellious character (11 revolts had happened in the previous 40 years), had been little affected by the Turkish state’s assimilation campaigns.

The Kurdish and Zaza tribes living there were rejecting the Turkish authorities and also were refusing to pay any taxes. Their interference was such that Ataturk considered Dersim to be the country’s most important domestic problem.

To put an end to the Dersim’s resistance, Ataturk appointed General Abdullah Alpdoğan responsible for the region by giving him the authority to exile people if anyone would refuse assimilation. To make this possible, several military observation posts were then built around Dersim and more and more Turkish soldiers were brought to the region. It is said that planes flew over Dersim every day.

As the tension between the Turkish soldiers and the population was getting higher and higher, Seyit Reza decided to send one of his own sons to negotiate with General Alpdoğan in order to avoid a war and to protect the population and its rights. But the latter killed the emissary. In response to the death of his son, Seyit Reza decided to call the Dersim clan leaders and, in early 1937, they joined forces to counter the Turkish attack. The first action was the attack on a police convoy.

The Turkish army, under Ataturk’s direct order, tried to break the rebels by strength and sent more than 25,000 soldiers supported by plane bombardments. But the fighters of Seyit Riza resisted fiercely and refused to surrender. They fought so hard that the Turkish army had to trick them in order to end the resistance.

In the fall of 1937, General Alpdoğan invited Seyit Riza to discuss a peace agreement. When Seyit Riza went there, he was made prisoner together with his 16-year-old son and 8 of his men. Such a treacherous action was so inconceivable in the rules of honor and tradition of the time that it is said that Seyit Riza only spit the following words:

“Government without honor and deceitful!”

After eight days, they were all hanged. Before his hanging, Seyit Riza last words were:

    “I am now 75 years old. I will fall Sehid and join the Sehids of Kurdistan. Dersim lost, but the Kurds and Kurdistan will win. The Kurdish youths will take revenge on me. Thus shall cruel men die, so shall vile and deceitful men die.”
After his death, the resistance continued for another year. But the atrocity of the repression that came down on Dersim, where men, women and children were massacred by Turkish soldiers, put an end to the rebel troops.

According to official reports, more than 10,000 civilians were massacred and more than 11,000 were taken into exile, depopulating the province. Many rebels who surrendered were executed and women and children were burned alive. A total of more than 40,000 Kurds were slaughtered..
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Re: DERSIM - never forget - never forgive - never trust Turk

PostAuthor: Anthea » Wed Dec 14, 2022 12:45 am

Students in Dersim under threat

Students at Munzur University in the northern Kurdish province of Dersim have turned to the Human Rights Association because of threats, harassment and recruitment attempts by the secret service and police

Students of Munzur University in Dersim denounced blackmail, threats and recruitment attempts by the Turkish secret service and police authorities. On Monday, a joint press conference was held by students and the office of the Human Rights Association (IHD) in Dersim.

Gürbüz Solmaz, co-chair of the IHD Dersim office, spoke of how the state has increased the pressure in Dersim, especially recently, noting the recruitment of informers has taken on a new dimension: "Unfortunately, the state has made this the prevailing policy in Dersim. We demand that this humiliating and degrading practice be abandoned."

On behalf of the students of Munzur University, Murat Aydın read out a statement and said, "Patriotic students who are promoting the democratic struggle are being pressured, threatened, bullied, harassed and attempts are being made to keep them off campus by recruiting informers.

We hereby bring to public attention the policy of threats and coercion in the recruitment of informers against our friends. In recent times, there has been repeated harassment of students at Munzur University and they are being asked to come to meetings with the authorities. When students refuse, threats and pressure are used to try to put them in fear.

The Regime knows it is finished and hopes to oppose our struggle through brute force. It thinks it can intimidate us with its spying and assimilation policies and attacks. These efforts are in vain, we will continue to resist the whole policy of oppression and intimidation with the strength we draw from our history."
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Re: DERSIM - never forget - never forgive - never trust Turk

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sat Apr 29, 2023 1:21 am

Dersim Massacre, 1937-1938

A - Context

In 1937-38, a military campaign took place against parts of the province of Tunceli, formerly Dersim, Turkey, that had not been brought under the control of the state. It lasted from March 1937 to September 1938 and resulted in a particularly high death toll: many thousands of civilian victims

Contemporary officers called it a “disciplinary campaign” (tedip harekâtı, a term also used by the official military historian, Reşat Halli, in his 1972 account); politicians and press, a Kemalist civilising mission (Uluğ 2007 [1939]). Prime Minister Tayip Erdoğan, however, in a November 2009 speech referred to it as a “massacre”, which can be considered an historically appropriate term.

It took place when the Republic of Turkey was consolidated – in contrast with the repression of the Kurdish Sheikh Saïd rebellion in 1925 or the Koçgiri uprising in 1921. The campaign of Dersim was prepared well in advance and therefore was not a short-term reaction to a concrete uprising. Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the state president, stood personally behind it and died shortly after its end.

After the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne had recognised the Turkish nationalist movement as the sole legitimate representative of Turkey and admitted its victory in Asia Minor, the Republic of Turkey was founded.

It implemented revolutionary changes from above, such as the abolition of the Caliphate in 1924, and the introduction of the Swiss Civil Code in 1926 and the Latin alphabet in 1928. Broadly acclaimed as a successful modern Turkish nation-state, the Republic rebuilt its international relations in the 1930s and succeeded, in a deal with France and the League of Nations (of which it became a member in 1932), in incorporating the Syrian region of Alexandretta into its national territory in 1938-39.

However, radical Turkism (Turkish ethno-nationalism) with racist undertones marked the ideological climate of the 1930s, while cosmopolitan Ottomanism and Islam were radically evacuated from the political sphere and intellectual life. Kemalist Turkism – the ideology of the new political élite tied to the single-party régime – albeit triumphalist, expressed the need for a connection to deeper roots and made a huge effort to legitimise Anatolia as the national home of the Turks by means of historical physical anthropology.

The region of Dersim, renamed Tunceli in 1935, stood markedly at odds with the politico-cultural landscape of 1930s Turkey. Hamdi Bey, a senior official, in a report of 1926, called the area an abscess that needed an urgent surgeon from the Republic (Halli 1972: 375). Journalist and (in 1931-35) deputy Naşit Uluğ published in 1932 a booklet under the title The Feudal Lords and Dersim; it asked at the end how a “Dersim system” marked by feudalism and banditry could be destroyed.

After Hamdi, General Inspector Ibrahim Tali, Marshal Fevzi Çakmak and Minister of the Interior Şükrü Kaya all collected information on the ground and wrote reports concluding the necessity of introducing “reforms” in the region (Kalman 1995: 135-68; Aygün 2009: 57-89). The need for reforms for Dersim, together with military campaigns to effect them, had been a postulate since the Ottoman reforms, the Tanzimat, of the 19th century. Several military campaigns had taken place but had brought only limited successes.

In parts of Dersim and other eastern parts of the Ottoman Empire, in which Kurdish lords had reigned autonomously since the 16th century, the central state had established its direct central rule in the second third of the 19th century, though it depended still in the republican era on the co-option of local lords to maintain its rule. The central parts of Dersim, by contrast, resisted both co-option and direct rule until the 1930s. Dersim nevertheless had been represented by a few deputies in the Ottoman parliament in Istanbul and, since 1920, the National Assembly in Ankara.

Dersim is a mountainous region between Sivas, Erzincan and Elazığ (renamed from Elaziz in 1937; Turkification of local names began during World War I). It covers an area of 90 km east-west and 70 km north-south and had, according to official estimates in the 1930s, a total population of nearly 80,000, of which one-fifth were considered men able to bear arms (Jandarma Umum Kumandanlığı Raporu 2010 [1932]: 59).

Dersim’s topography allowed cattle breeding but only little agriculture. It offered many places for refuge and hiding: valleys, caves, forests and mountains. These had been vital for the survival of Dersim’s Alevi population. The Alevis venerated Ali, Muhammad’s son-in-law. They refused the Sharia and remained attached to unorthodox Sufi beliefs and practices widespread in Anatolia before the 16th century, when the Ottoman state embraced Sunnite orthodoxy; the beliefs were mostly linked to Anatolian saint Hacı Bektash (13th century). Since many of the Alevis had sympathised with Safavid Persia in the 16th century, they were lastingly stigmatised as heretics and traitors.

The first language of the Dersim Kurds, as they were called by contemporary observers, was not Turkish but Zaza (the main language) or Kurmanji. Kurdish nationalism had had its impact on a few of its leaders and intellectuals since the early 20th century. These reclaimed President Woodrow Wilson’s principle of self-determination after World War I and linked an articulated ideology to Kurdist activism, as General Fevzi Çakmak complained in his report of 1930. Çakmak therefore demanded the removal of functionaries of “Kurdish race” in Erzincan (Halli 1971: 351-52). The Koçgiri uprising in 1921 had been the first rebellion marked by open Kurdish nationalism; it, too, had taken place in an Alevi region, called Koçgiri, at the western boundary of Dersim.

Though the declaration of a secular republic and the abolition of the Caliphate in early 1924 won over many Anatolian Alevis, most Alevis in Eastern Anatolia remained distrustful. This divide coincided by and large with that of Turkish- and/or Kurdish-speaking “Eastern Alevis” outside the organisation of the Bektashis, on the one hand, and “Western Alevis” reached by the reformed Bektashi order of the 16th century and thus domesticated by the Ottoman state, on the other.

Dersim had important places of religious pilgrimage, partly shared with local Armenians. Its “Seyyids” claimed descent from Ali and entertained a network of dependant communities in and outside Dersim (Gezik 2000: 141-76, Kieser 2007: 166). The Young Turks and the leaders of the Turkish national movement after 1918 had both co-opted the Bektashiye, of which a leader had in vain tried to win over the chiefs of Dersim to fight side-by-side with the Ottoman army against the invading Russians in 1916. Two limited rebellions then broke out, and armed groups harassed the Ottoman army. Dersim was the only place more or less safe for Armenian refugees during and after the genocide of 1915, which mainly took place in the eastern provinces (Dersimi 1952: 100-103; Halli 1972; 373-74; Kieser 2000: 396; Küçük 2001: 212–23).

After the establishment of the new state in Ankara and the repression of the Kurdish uprisings of the 1920s, the attention of Ankara turned more and more to Dersim, described as a place of reactionary evil forces, of interior and exterior intrigues and hostage to tribal chiefs and religious leaders. Dersim could, in fact, be described as a pre-modern, tribally split society; it became growingly isolated after 1920. At the same time, according to Hamdi Bey, who visited Dersim in 1926, it was growingly politicised  to the point of adopting openly anti-Kemalist Kurdish positions. Sustained contacts with Kurdo-Armenian organisation Hoybun, founded in Syria in 1927, were not, however, possible.

Economic problems and correlated banditry had a long history; they became more acute due to the region’s isolation and the generally bad economic conditions after World War I. Yet, in the late Ottoman era, new currents had begun to permeate Dersim’s neighbourhood. These included labour migration, emulation of quickly modernising Armenian neighbours, the desire for education and attendance at new – Armenian, missionary, or state – schools, as well as the spread of medical services in the region. Compared with the situation in the early Republic, late Ottoman Eastern Anatolia had been pluralist, and culturally and economically much more dynamic.

A Law of Settlement of 21 June 1934 legitimised in general terms the depopulation of regions in Turkey for cultural, political or military reasons, with the intent to create, as Minister of the Interior Kaya stated, “a country with one language, one mentality, and unity of feelings” (Ülker 2008: 8). This law was conceived in order to complete the Turkification of Anatolia in the context of the new focus on Dersim in interior politics.

B - Decision-Makers, Organisers and Actors

In October 1935, Italy began a brutal invasion of Ethiopia, in which it used chemical weapons and killed hundreds of thousands of men, women and children. For the prominent theorist of Kemalism of those years, deputy and former minister Mahmut Esat Bozkurt, Mussolini’s fascism was nothing other than a version of Kemalism, even though Turkey’s and Italy’s foreign policies contrasted. In 1930, Bozkurt had spoken of a war between two races, Kurds and Turks, and had gone so far as to say, “All, friends, enemies and the mountains, shall know that the Turk is the master of this country. All those who are not pure Turks have only one right in the Turkish homeland: the right to be servants, the right to be slaves” (Son Posta 20 September 1930).

These elements formed the context when, in December 1935, Minister of the Interior Kaya presented a draft law, commonly known as Tunceli Law, that once more labelled the region a zone of illness that needed surgery (Beşikçi 1990: 17, Ülker 2008: 8). In terms of national security, there was no urgency; non-military officials of the state were not molested on entering Dersim, e.g., for the population census of every village in 1935 (Aslan 2010: 411).

The law passed without opposition in parliament and press, both being controlled by the Kemalist party, the PRP. Dersim, formerly part of the province of Elazığ, was established as a separate province, renamed Tunceli and ruled in a state of emergency by the military governor, Abdullah Alpdoğan, the head of the Fourth General Inspectorate.

Three former General Inspectorates had served to “pacify” other regions in Turkey judged to be a risk. Alpdoğan was the son-in-law of Nurettin Pasha, the general who had led the repression of the Koçgiri uprising in 1921. He had previously called for the “pacification” of Dersim in 1921. Roads, schools, police stations, military bases and a railway to Elazığ were established and considered a threat by many Dersimis. The reports by Alpdoğan of 1936 emphasise the progress in establishing a military infrastructure in the region, including gendarmerie stations (Akgül 1992: 37-40, 63-68).

The report of Hamdi Bey (1926) had already called for strong measures and labelled the attempt at a peaceful penetration of Dersim by schools, infrastructure and industry an illusion (Halli 1972: 375). Against this background, actors on both sides were separated by a rift and unable to find a common language, albeit in an unbalanced dialogue. Seyyid Rıza, perhaps the most important tribal chief, in addition to being a religious figure, insisted on autonomy and the revocation of the Tunceli Law of 1935. He seemed to have believed initially that Dersim could not be subdued militarily. He had worked for years, partly successfully, to unite the tribes (Akgül 1992: 124-25, Dersimi 1952: 237-39, report of Vali Tevfik Sırrı of 28 November 1933, BCA Yer No: 30 10 00. 110.741.21).

After several incidents, culminating on the nights of 20/21 and 26/27 March 1937, tribal attacks against the new infrastructure in Pah and a police station in Sin in eastern central Dersim, the military campaign was launched. With 8,623 men, artillery and an air force in early May, it was largely superior in numbers and materiel to the forces of the insurgents.

    On 4 May 1937, the Council of Ministers, including Atatürk and Fevzi Çakmak, the Chief of General Staff, decided secretly on a forceful attack against western-central Dersim, to kill all who used or had used arms and to remove the population settled between Nazimiye and Sin. The same day, planes dropped pamphlets saying that in the case of surrender, “no harm at all would be done to you, dear compatriots. If not, entirely against our will, the [military] forces will act and destroy you. One must obey the state” (Halli 1972: 390-91 and 491)
In the following months, the army successfully advanced against fierce resistance and changing tribal coalitions led by Rıza, allied tribal chiefs and Alişer, a talented poet and activist. Unity of the rebels was far from achieved; only a few tribes formed the hard core of the resistance. On 9 July, Alişer and his wife were killed by their own people, their heads sent to Alpdoğan. In July, Rıza sent a letter to the prime minister in which he vividly described what he saw as anti-Kurdish politics of assimilation, removal and finally a war of destruction. Via his friend Nuri Dersimi, who had gone into exile in Syria in September 1937, he also sent a despairing letter to the League of Nations and the foreign ministries of the United Kingdom, France and the United States, none of which answered.

On 10 September, he surrendered to the army in Erzincan. Messages of congratulation were sent to Alpdoğan by Atatürk, Minister of the Interior Şükrü Kaya and Prime Minister Inönü, who had visited Elazığ in June. Shortly before Atatürk’s visit there, Rıza was executed in Elazığ, together with his son Resik Hüseyin, tribal leader Seyit Haso and a few sons of tribal chiefs. The execution was hastily organised by Ihsan Sabri Çağlayangil, later a foreign minister (Çağlayangil 2007: 69-73, Kieser 2007: 249-51).

Despite the setbacks of 1937, Dersimi groups resumed attacks against the security forces in early 1938, saying that they all would perish if they did not resist (Halli 1972: 412). The military campaign took on a new and comprehensive character as the government embarked on a general cleansing in order “to eradicate once and for all this [Dersim] problem,” in the words of Prime Minister Celal Bayar in parliament on 29 June 1938 (Akgül 1992: 155). In June 1938, units began to penetrate those parts of Dersim that did not surrender between Pülür (Ovacık), Danzik and Pah in central Dersim. On 10 August, a large campaign of cleansing and scouring (tarama) started. It ended in early September and cost the lives of many thousands of men, women and children, even of tribes that cooperated with the government.

C - Victims

According to the official statements, the military campaign of 1937 targeted bandits and reactionary tribal and religious leaders who misled innocent people. On a secret level, however, right from the beginning in particular, with the decision of the Council of Ministers of 4 May 1937 parts of the Dersim people as a whole were targeted, at least for relocation pursuant to the 1934 Law of Settlement. Those targeted feared, as in Koçgiri in 1921, that they would all perish like the Armenians if they did not resist (Aygün 2009: 72).

The campaign in spring 1937 concerned the regions in which most clashes occurred, between Pah and Hozat. Villages were to be disarmed and people removed, but the main violence targeted armed groups. Halli, who amply cites military documents, scarcely uses the word imha (annihilation) for this period. This changed with the campaign of summer 1938, which employed massive violence against the whole population, even beyond the parts of Dersim that did not surrender and that had been declared prohibited zones under the Law of Settlement.

The Council of Ministers decided on 6 August 1938 that 5,000-7,000 Dersimis had to be removed from the prohibited zones to the west. “Thousands of persons, whose names the Fourth General Inspectorate [under Alpdoğan] had listed, were arrested and sent in convoys to the regions where they were ordered to go” (Halli 1972: 463).

Also targeted for relocation were numerous families living outside these zones or in the neighbourhood of Dersim, if they were considered to be members of Dersimi tribes. Notables living outside Dersim were killed in summer 1938, as were some young Dersimis doing service in the army. For the killing of surviving “bandits”, an order by the prime minister, the Minister of the Interior, the Minister of Defence and the Military Inspectorate proposed to use the Special Organisation, known for its role in the mass killing of Armenians in 1915-16 and, particularly, of targeted personalities (Halli 1972: 465).

According to the official military historian Halli, “thousands of bandits” were annihilated in the first week of cleansing alone, from 10-17 August 1938 (Halli 1972: 463). Halli mentions no comprehensive number for the whole campaign. From his detailed narrative, however, which gives precise numbers or mentions a “big number” of killed persons for dozens of incidents, deaths likely totalled considerably higher than 10,000.

An unpublished report by Alpdoğan’s Inspectorate, recently quoted in Turkish newspapers, mentions 13,160 civilian dead and 11,818 deportees (Radikal 20 November 2009). The high number of deaths and ample evidence prove that the killings were not limited to the insurgent tribes. A comparison of the censuses of 1935 and 1940 shows that the district of Hozat, with a loss of more than 10,000 people, was the most seriously impacted (Aslan 2010: 411). A proposed number of 40,000 victims seems, however, implausibly high (McDowall 2000: 209).

    According to Çağlayangil, the army used poison gas to kill people who hid in caves (NTV Tarih December 2009: 61). Many others were burned alive, whether in houses or by spraying individuals with fuel. Even if people surrendered, they were annihilated. In order “not to fall into the hands of the Turks,” girls and women jumped into abysses, as many Armenians had in 1915 (Dersimi 1952: 318-320)
The suspicion of having lodged “bandits” or, according to witness accounts of soldiers, military units’ desire for vengeance sufficed as justification to kill whole villages.

Soldiers confirm that they were ordered to kill women and children. One has to bear in mind that the Dersimis were seen – and declared so by officers – as Alevi heretics, some times as crypto-Armenians. When gendarmerie posts were established in the 1930, gendarmes even exercised control over whether local young men were circumcised. “Was he perhaps a giavour, an Armenian?” (Algör 2010: 159; Bulut 1991: 299-301).

D - Witnesses

“It is understood from various sources that in clearing the area occupied by the Kurds, the military authorities have used methods similar to those used against the Armenians during the Great War: thousands of Kurds including women and children were slain; others, mostly children were thrown into the Euphrates; while thousands of others in less hostile areas, who had first been deprived of their cattle and other belongings, were deported to vilayets in Central Anatolia”, reported the British Vice Consul in Trabzon on 27 September 1938. His report is the exception to the rule that there exist no reports by foreign observers in or near the theatre of events, because Dersim and whole of Eastern Asia Minor was generally closed to foreigners.

Documents and testimonies do exist military, governmental and by Dersimis themselves. The relevant documents in the military archives in Ankara (ATASE) were still closed to independent research in 2011. This is true also for the relevant documents of the civil offices, which have remained in the respective ministries and have not been transferred to the Republican Archives (BCA).

A few official reports that have been leaked are available, as are the military history by Halli, personal testimony by soldiers and witness accounts from survivors. They all agree that systematic massacres took place; testifying soldiers and survivors add that targets included civilians, women and children (Bulut 1991: 183-206, 299-304; “Dersim Katliamı’ndaki askerler konuştu,” CNN Turk of 3 May 2011).

Accustomed to looking up to the state and army as omnipotent entities, most soldiers feared even decades afterwards to speak about their experiences. “When we came to the headquarters, we learnt that discussions had taken place between the officers. A few said that that these people [women and children in Hozat who had not given information on the whereabouts of the men] had to be annihilated, others said that this was a sin. […]

They [finally] ordered us: ‘Annihilate all you can apprehend.’ […] And that day we soldiers, in a horrific savageness and craziness, gathered the women, girls and children in a mosque – it was in fact not like a mosque but rather like a church – closed it, sprayed kerosene and easily burnt them alive” (soldier Halil Çolak, Bulut 1991: 300f.).

Dersimis themselves have collected an important number of private documents, conducted interviews and built up Internet sites (Algör 2010; Kalman 1995; Bulut 1991). Recent work has added important material (Aygün 2009 and 2010; Taş 2010; and others: see bibliography). A scholarly “1937-38 Dersim Oral History Project” was launched in 2010 (contact: Prof. Taner Akçam, Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Clark University). A main archive or centre of documentation of the Dersim massacre, however, does not yet exist. The only nearly contemporary Kurdish history of the event is a chapter in Nuri Dersimi’s book of 1952, which includes testimonies; the author himself had left Dersim before the campaign.

Documentary novels and memoirs of this period have been written since the 1980s, e.g., by Şükrü Laçin, a founder of the Turkish Workers’ Party in 1963 and not a sympathiser with Rıza and Kurdish nationalism. He recounts in a book published in 1992 how he and people close to him lived during 1937-38. Laçin was born in 1924 in a non-rebellious village of the district of Mazgirt, south of Pah, but was nevertheless removed.

His family was allowed to return in 1947. In his sober retrospective, he describes how in summer 1938 the villagers had to surrender all weapons – some old sabres and knifes – they possessed, gather before a lieutenant and listen to a talk on the unity of Turkey. Then the lieutenant selected nine young men, pretended that they still had weapons and took them with him. All were shot except one man named Ahmed Korkmaz, a former soldier, who was saved at the last moment.

Several functionaries, including Ahmed’s former teacher, had spoken in his favour. Laçin confirms that the campaign of 1938 and the forced removal of populations covered parts of Dersim, such as Mazgirt, Pertek and Nazimiye, that did not refuse to pay taxes or enlist people in the army. He confirms that villages of the province of Erzincan in the districts of Refahiye, Çayırlı, Üzümlü, Kemah and Tercan, where relatives of Laçin lived, were also targeted, because their inhabitants were Alevi Kurds and were said to have relations with Dersim (Laçin 1992: 26-29, 41-42).

E - Memories

In the years after 1938, the single-party state and its press continued to maintain the image and memory of a necessary and fully successful campaign of pacification, followed by sustained efforts at reconstruction. This is also the content of the book entitled Tunceli is made accessible to civilisation, published in 1939, by Naşit Uluğ, then the director of Ulus, a daily newspaper. He evoked the punishment of “bandits”, but made no reference to mass killing, presenting a panegyric to the Turkish army, to which the Turkish nation had again to be infinitely thankful. He also emphasised the work of reconstruction, which he illustrated with photos and a plan of mostly military buildings. In his words, the success, including a positive memory of the Dersim campaign, was achieved once and for all; the Dersimis had been “made into human beings” (Uluğ 2007). Many Dersimis themselves adopted the Kemalist view or were, as orphans in state institutions, taught to do so. They often exonerated Atatürk, now venerated, and put the blame for the dark side of the campaign on ministers and officers. The Western and the Soviet press largely followed the Kemalist narrative of a civilising mission against reactionary conservatives. Only the U.S. press seems to have voiced criticism of both the violent campaign and its undemocratic political framework; like the European press, however, it lacked independent sources (Sarıkoyuncu 2010).

Heroic reports that recounted Kurdish exploits, resistance and the foundation of an independent Kurdish government appeared in the Armenian press in 1937. A simultaneously tragic and heroic memory of Dersim 1937-38 is to be found in the 1952 book and the memoirs of the Kurdish nationalist Nuri Dersimi, who was in contact with Armenians since the beginning of his exile. Dersimi’s texts, which underlined the barbaric aspects of the campaign, were seminal for the memory of the Kurdish nationalists, but he was also criticised by Dersimis as an instigator who left the country when it became dangerous (Dersimi 1986, Kârerli Mehmed 2007: 333-38, Kieser 2007: 245-55, Taş 2010: 36–37, BCA 030.10 0 0.111.745.11).

The single-party regime met its end in the years after 1945. In 1947, the government repealed the Tunceli Law, and relocated people were allowed to return to their villages. The state of emergency was lifted in 1948. Henceforth, memories dissenting from that promoted by the former single-party regime as well as ongoing realities in Tunceli – poverty, absence of schools and health services, etc. – could be acknowledged, though not freely.

The army, the main actor on the ground, as well as the state and its founder, Atatürk, who had stood behind the Tunceli campaign, could never be openly criticised. The memory of the Dersim campaign as at least partly ruthless and misguided can also be found in letters of pious soldiers to the spiritual father of the Nurculuk, Said-i Nursi (Badıllı 1990: 1134, according to Zaman 4 December 2008).

After 1945, Turkey stood under the shadow of the Cold War. Right and left claimed Atatürk’s heritage and did not question dark sides of the Kemalist “civilising mission”. In 1937 at the Komintern in Moscow, Ismail Bilen, a member of the outlawed Turkey Communist Party, had fully backed the Kemalist regime in its “politics against feudalism” in Dersim, though himself imprisoned and exiled (Laçin 1992: 37, cf. Beşikçi 1992: 256-64).

Barbaros Baykara’s novels on Tunceli/Dersim 1937-38, widely read in the 1970s and 1980s, were still informed by this kind of state-centred, progressive narrative. The memory of the Dersim campaign as mass violence by the state and its army was nevertheless articulate in leftist circles, in particular among the members from Tunceli (of which Laçin is again an example) but also more generally among those with Alevi and Kurdish backgrounds.

The military putsch of 1980 crushed the Turkish left. After this experience, the leftist or ex-left-wing circles critical of the state began to be more open to the Kurdish perspective that the Turkish nation-state had always reacted with mass violence and denial (imha ve inkar) against even moderate Kurdish claims (Göktaş 1991: 5). More detailed memories, detached from the Kemalist state and ideologies of progress and civilisation, have been recounted since the late 20th century.

A “renaissance” of long-suppressed ethnic and religious identities and histories took place at the dawn of the post-Cold War era. Turkey’s EU candidature in 1999 and the AKP government since 2002 contributed to a more liberal context in which the military, the main actor of the campaign of 1937-38, partly lost for the first time its hitherto sacrosanct, unchecked position at the top of the state.

During the so-called Kurdish or democratic opening of autumn 2009, on 17 November, Prime Minister Erdoğan called the events of 1937-38 a massacre. For the first time, the long-term memory of the Tunceli campaign as one of pacification and a mission of civilisation was publicly challenged on the governmental level, whereas the Republican People’s Party, the former single party, had trouble in defending what for 70 years had been the official version of history. The latter version is nowadays widely seen as unacceptable, as is evident in media discussions from autumn 2009 onwards. It appears today as the position of ultranationalists (see, e.g., the foreword to Uluğ’s book of 1939 in the re-edition of publisher Kaynak, close to the ultranationalist, formerly leftist, agitator Doğu Perinçek).

F - General and Legal Interpretation of the Facts

In contrast with the aftermath of the Koçgiri revolt in 1921-22, there were neither critical discussions in the Turkish parliament nor legal claims that officers responsible for brutality and mass killing of civilians should be put on trial. This is even less the case for Dersim, as the legal(istic) framework for the campaign and the removal of the Dersimis had been prepared in advance by the Law of Settlement and the Tunceli Law, which was only repealed in 1947.

This law gave Alpdoğan the authority to carry out death penalties without a vote by the parliament, as the Constitution prescribed. Other basic requirements of penal law also were lacking, such as interrogation, communication of the indictment to the indicted or the possibility of appeal (A. Civi in Zaman İsviçre 27 November 2009). Legalism disguised the breach of law against citizens, as in other authoritarian or fascist regimes of the 1930s.

Recently, lawyer Hüseyin Aygün filed a complaint for crimes against humanity in Dersim, where his relatives were killed in 1938 in the village of Çamurek. “The family members were totally annihilated”, says an official document of 1955 upon which the lawyer bases his complaint; the document allowed surviving family members to return from their exile in Kütahya (Hürriyet Daily News, 27 April 2010). In early 2011, the court dismissed the complaint, arguing that it fell outside the statute of limitations.

Historical sociologist Ismail Beşikçi was the first scholar to research the Dersim campaign; to emphasise the legalist but illegitimate, anti-constitutional framework in which it took place; and to call it, in a book of 1990, a genocide. Anthropologist Martin van Bruinessen proposed, in an article of 1994, the label “ethnocide”, arguing that the destruction of Dersim’s autonomous ethnic culture, not of its population, had been the campaign’s main intention.

Though declared as a Turkifying mission of civilisation, the intent “to destroy, in whole or in part” – according to article 2 of the UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide – the Dersimis, as a distinct ethno-religious group, then labelled as Alevi Kurd and partly as crypto-Armenian, and of “forcibly transferring children of the group to another group” is manifest. This is well documented. In a comparative legal perspective, Beşikçi’s position may be supported by later jurisdiction based on the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide as by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.

A restrictive historiographical use may, however, reserve the term genocide for mass killings of the 20th century, in which a higher proportion of a larger ethno-religious group was killed and the future of the whole group in its habitat was destroyed, as in the case of the Ottoman Armenians or the European Jews. In both latter cases, those responsible considered the targeted groups to be inassimilable to the nation.

The Dersim massacre concerned parts of the Dersim population, whereas other parts were removed and the main part could remain in place. As a result, the area’s informal autonomy and, in part, its ethno-religious habitat were suppressed. Extermination in 1938 had targeted first those whose tribes and families were involved in the resistance. But it also included others, among them relatives who were not in the resistance, and even people living outside Dersim. Principally, however, the Kemalists who were responsible for the campaign, considered that the Dersimis could be assimilated into the nation-state.

In studies on Turkey across all disciplines, the Dersim campaign remained under-researched until the late 20th century. One scarcely finds mention of it in the major university textbooks on Turkish history. To this day, there still do not exist monographs or detailed research articles in Western languages, except the translation of Beşikçi’s book and a few articles or book chapters (Bruinessen 1994; Watts 2000). Richer is the recent Turkish production.

The dark sides of Turkey’s foundation, from the Young Turks’ single-party regime to the Dersim campaign and later pogroms against non-Muslims, have long been under-researched both inside and outside Turkey for political reasons and because of simplistic notions of progress versus religious reaction in Western scholarship on Turkey.

In recent years, a fresh look at these topics and the Dersim campaign has finally emerged. It also includes the particularly silenced Armenian aspects of Dersim – a dimension that Western scholarship long failed to grasp. The lack of access to the military archives, however, said to be in the process of classification (tasnif), seriously hampers comprehensive research on the Dersim campaign.

The military archives could answer questions such as the hierarchical level at which the order was given to massacre people, including women and children; to what extent poison gas was used against people in caves; and whether there were, as it seems, absolutely no orders against or punishments for such widespread brutalities as burning alive, slashing open pregnant women, and stabbing babies.

In contrast to state-centred rightist or leftist traditions – which explained the high number of civilian dead to be collateral damage of a necessary campaign against reactionary rebels – recent scholarship elaborates on the problematic aspects and the victims of the Dersim campaign. It puts it in the context of the single party’s suppression of any opposition (Zürcher 2004: 176). It frames it as an ethnocide, the “deliberate destruction of Kurdish ethnic identity by forced assimilation” (Bruinessen 1994: 143). It sees it as a genocide committed against the backdrop of a colonialist enterprise, bearing in mind that the Turkish political élite did not know “Kurdistan” any better than 19th-century European élites had known their overseas colonies (Beşikçi 1992). A

further interpretation stresses the logical and chronological coincidence with the Turkish History thesis that claimed Anatolia to have been for thousands of years the home of the Turks – a racial speculation that revealed an aporia of legitimacy and a dead-end of ultra-Turkist Kemalism. It implied the wish to make disappear all remaining vestiges of non-Turkish presence and heterogeneous Ottoman coexistence. These vestiges reminded state-centred elites of a period for which they felt distress and shame; a period marked by the tedious Oriental Question, in particular the Armenian Question, and by the lack of governmental sovereignty. It involved a deep-seated fear of de-legitimisation (Kieser 2000: 411-12, Kieser 2007: 400-410).

G. Maps :

Map N°1 : Turkey, source : Wikipedia

Turkey

Map N°2 : Province of Dersim : source : Harita Dosyası, Yurt Ansiklopedisi (Istanbul: Anadolu Yay., 1981.

Dersim Massacre, 1937-1938

The map shows Dersim (the province of Tunceli) including the area between Hozat and Nazimiye tha was mainly targeted by the campaign. Among the places mentioned in the article are Nazimiye (here Nazmiye), Sin (today's Geyiksuyu, between Hozat and Tunceli, not on the map), and Pah (renamed Kocakoç, but on this map Karakoç -- the massive Turkist renaming of toponyms led to many confusions).

H - Bibliography

AKGÜL, Suat, 1992, Yakın tarihimizde Dersim isyanları ve gerçekler, Istanbul: Boğaziçi Yay.

ALGÖR, İlhami, 2010, Ma sekerdo kardaş? “Dersim 38” tanıklıkları, Istanbul: Doğan.

ASLAN, Şükrü (ed.), 2010, Herkesin bildiği sır: Dersim, Istanbul: İletişim.

AYGÜN, Hüseyin, 2009, Dersim 1938 ve zorunlu iskân, Telgraflar, dilekçeler, mektuplar, Ankara: Dipnot.

AYGÜN, Hüseyin, 2010, Dersim 1938. Resmiyet ve hakikat, Ankara: Dipnot.

BADILLI, Abdülkadir, 1990, Bediüzzaman Said Nursi, Mufassal Tarihçe-i Hayatı, İstanbul: Timaş.

BARBAROS, Baykara, 1974, Dersim 1937, Istanbul: Aykar.

BARBAROS, Baykara, 1975, Tunceli 1938, Istanbul: Aykar.

BEŞİKÇİ, İsmail, 1992, Tunceli kanunu (1935) ve Dersim jenosidi, Ankara: Yurt Kitap-Yayın (first ed. 1990).

BRUINESSEN, Martin van, 1994, “Genocide in Kurdistan? The suppression of the Dersim rebellion in Turkey (1937-1938) and the chemical war against the Iraqi Kurds (1988),” in G. Andreopoulos (ed.), Genocide – Conceptual and historical dimensions, Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 141–170.

BULUT, Faik, 1991, Belgerle Dersim raporları, Istanbul: Yön.

ÇAGLAYANGİL, İhsan Sabri, 2007,“Kader bizi una değil, üne itti,” Çağlayangil’in anıları, haz. Tanju Cilizoğlu, Istanbul: Bilgi Yayınevi (first ed. 1990).

ÇALIŞLAR, İzzeddin, 2010, Dersim raporu, Istanbul: Iletisim (written in 1933-34).

DERSIMI, Nuri, 1986, Hatıratım, Stockholm: Roja Nû (first ed.1952).

DERSIMI, Nuri, 1990, Kürdistan tarihinde Dersim, Köln: Komkar.

GÖKTAŞ, HIdır, 1991, Kürtler. İsyan - tenkil, Istanbul: Alan.

HALLİ, Reşat, 1972, Türkiye Cumhuriyetinde ayaklanmalar (1924–1938), ed. by the Directorate of the General Staff for Military History, Ankara: Genelkurmay Basımevi.

JANDARMA UMUM KUMANDANLIĞI, 2010, Dersim. Jandarma Umum Kumandanlığı raporu, Istanbul: Kaynak (first ed. 1932).

KÂRERLİ MEHMED, Efendi, 2007, Yazılmayan tarih ve anılarım (1915-1958), ed. by Ali R. Erenler, Ankara: Kalan.

KIESER, Hans-Lukas, 2000, Der verpasste Friede. Mission, Ethnie und Staat in den Ostprovinzen der Türkei (1839-1938), Zürich: Chronos.

KIESER, Hans-Lukas, 2007, A quest for belonging. Anatolia beyond empire and nation, Istanbul: Isis.

KÜÇÜK, Hülya, 2001, The role of the Bektashis in Turkey’s national struggle, Leiden: Brill.

MCDOWALL, David, 2000, A modern history of the Kurds, London: I.B.Tauris.

SARIKOYUNCU DEĞERLİ, Esra, “Amerikan basınında doğu isyanları 1925-1938,” Akademik Bakış 3 (Summer 2010): 97-121.

TAŞ, Cemal, 2010, Dağların kayıp anahtarı. Dersim 1938 anlatıları, Istanbul: Iletisim.

ÜLKER, Erol, 2008, “Assimilation, Security and Geographical Nationalization in Interwar Turkey: The Settlement Law of 1934,” European Journal of Turkish Studies [Online], 7 | 2008, Online since 11 December 2008, https://journals.openedition.org/ejts/2123, visited 27 August 2008.

ULUĞ, Naşit H., 2007, Tunceli Medeniyete açılıyor, Istanbul: Kaynak (first ed. 1939).

ULUĞ, Naşit H., 2009, Derebeyi ve Dersim, Istanbul: Kaynak (first ed. 1932).

WATTS, Nicole, 2000, “Relocating Dersim: Turkish State-Building and Kurdish Resistance, 1931-1938,” New Perspectives on Turkey 23 (Fall 2000): 5-30.

https://www.sciencespo.fr/mass-violence ... -1938.html
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Re: DERSIM - never forget - never forgive - never trust Turk

PostAuthor: Anthea » Mon Jun 05, 2023 12:52 am

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Survivors Dersim Genocide die

Eşliye Çice and Necef Duman, who survived the Dersim Genocide of 1837-38, lost their lives

Eşliye Çiçe (Fecire Erol) from the village of Zimek (Çığırlı) in Xozat (Hozat) district and 94-year-old Necef Duman, who survived the Dersim Genocide, hiding under the dead body of her mother Besi who was shot dead in the hamlet of Hopik, have died.

The two women were buried in the village of Zimek

Cice spoke some time ago to the Pir News Agency (PIRHA) about the Dersim genocide and said: "They rounded up everyone and took them to the area of threshing. Machine guns were installed there.

Everyone started screaming, some managed to escape.

They separated the men from the women and took them to the mountain, saying that they would take their picture.

They took us to the mountains. We were children, we were hungry, we wanted bread and water. My mother put me between her legs and put my brother on her chest and hid us by lying face down.

My mother was killed. I pretended to be dead. When evening fell, a young woman came and shouted: ‘The soldiers are gone, those who are alive, get up’.

They killed scores of us in Hopik (Beyaz Dağ). We knew our dead by their clothes."
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Re: DERSIM - never forget - never forgive - never trust Turk

PostAuthor: Anthea » Mon Sep 25, 2023 12:07 am

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Dersim Museum wins Award

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – In just three years since it opened, the Dersim Museum has been recognized as one of the best museums in Europe, and received the 2nd place Luigi Micheletti Award

Located in the center of Dersim, known as Tunceli in Turkish, the museum houses more than 2,000 artifacts.

The museum displays archaeological pieces, the ancient history of the city, household objects from people’s daily lives, and renowned religious artifacts.

The original building was designed by Nazi Germany in 1935 and was designed to function as a military base. After being defunct since 1949, it was finally opened as a museum in 2020 and open for tourism.

“It is considered one of the masterpieces of Turkey's history. In the 1990s, when villages were evacuated, the Ministry of Finance discovered its ruins. It served as a refugee shelter until 2015 when it was converted into a museum,” said Bulent Tekbiyikoglu, governor of Dersim.

“The museum has a large exhibition space, which has been praised by European observers. We have a special exhibit that reflects the beliefs of the Alawites. We received an award from the European Museum Forum for our museum," the governor added.

Luigi Micheletti (1927-1994) established the Micheletti Foundation in Italy in 1981. The foundation immediately rose to prominence as a significant archive for modern, industrial European history. The European Museum Academy bestows the award annually to a museum.

The Dersim Museum strives to serve as a turning point for the city’s tourism industry, according to the plan of the provincial administration. In order to attract more tourists to Dersim, the city administration is working to revive the tourism sector in the region.

Dersim is a city located in the Tunceli Province of Turkey. It is home to a diverse population, with the majority of the population being Kurdish and Alevi. The area has a long history of cultural and religious diversity and is known for its religious and architectural monuments.

https://www.kurdistan24.net/en/story/32 ... etti-Award

Wonder if museum contains details of Turkey's slaughter of thousands of innocent Kurds
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Re: DERSIM - never forget - never forgive - never trust Turk

PostAuthor: Anthea » Thu Oct 12, 2023 3:07 pm

4-day ban on activities in Dersim

The Tunceli Governorship imposed a 4-day protest and activity ban on Dersim

The Tunceli Governorship announced that it imposed a 4-day ban on demonstrations and events in Dersim.

In the statement, the Governor said that statements made in open and closed places within the scope of the freedom to express and spread ideas are among the fundamental rights and freedoms, but noted that they could be banned when deemed necessary.

The statement added that the prohibition will begin at 00.01 on 12/10/2023 and end at 23.59 on 15/10/2023
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