“Alevis face threat of a massacre”

KCK Peoples and Faiths Committee Member Eren spoke on the 39th anniversary of the Maraş Massacre. Eren pointed out the role sharing between the AKP and the CHP and warned Alevis about the threat of a massacre.

39 years ago, the Turkish state committed a great massacre in Maraş through the racist Nationalist Movement Party. Kurdish Alevis in Maraş had their homes set on fire and more than 100 people including children and the elderly were killed. The first constituent congress of the PKK was held on November 27, 1978, and the Maraş Massacre was on December 24-25, 1978. Documents that surfaced later and speeches by some politicians confirmed that the massacre was a state plot to prevent the development of the Kurdish Freedom Movement. It has been 39 years since the massacre, but the Turkish state’s Kurdish and Alevi policies have not changed. The threat and danger of massacres against Alevis continue. On the 39th anniversary of the Maraş Massacre, ANF spoke with KCK (Kurdistan Communities Union) Peoples and Faiths Committee Member Cihan Eren about the Maraş Massacre and animosity against Alevis.


Cihan Eren stated that there is no difference for Alevis between the Ottoman Empire and its successor the Republic of Turkey, and that the hypocrisy in Kemalists using the Alevis as a symbol for themselves in their policies to prove that “the Republic of Turkey is secular and democratic” hasn’t waned. Eren said the state has incorporated a section of Alevis under the name “Bektaşi” into the state and used them in propaganda that “Atatürk’s Republic is also a state for the Alevis”.

Eren stated that the Kemalists committed the largest Alevi massacre, that started with the Koçgirî Massacre, in Dersim and added that this goal has not changed in any of the coup d’etats including September 12.

Cihan Eren pointed out the Eastern Reformation Plan and stated that Alevi Kurds were chosen as a strategic target in the policy to end Kurds, with the decree that “Alevis who live on the border of Kurdistan and Turkey need to be destroyed or in the least assimilated”. Eren stressed the following phrase in the Public Inspector’s report: “As long as we don’t destroy the Alevis, it is impossible for Kurds to become Turkified.”


KCK Peoples and Faiths Committee Member Cihan Eren stated that the September 12 coup aimed to continue the policies for the denial and annihilation of Kurds and that the gateway to Kurdistan for this policy to Kurdistan was Maraş. “The state carried out this massacre both to enact a coup and to give a message,” said Eren and added: “The message was, ‘Don’t rebel! If you get close to the Kurdish Freedom Movement, if you rebel, we will destroy you all.’”

Eren also stated that the state hasn’t given up on wanting to use Alevis as tools in their own policies and continued: “Like the Kemalists used Alevis through secularism, the AKP now wants to defend the Turkish-Islamic synthesis through nationalism and prolong itself through that. In the past the state used Alevis to keep the Sunni Muslims under control - they formed paramilitary forces within the Sunni population through targeting the Alevis. They formed the nationalist organizations.”


Eren pointed out that AKP and CHP have shared duties in the Turkish state’s Alevi policies and said the following on the role of each party: “AKP pushes Alevis towards the CHP through oppression and religious rhetoric, thus trying to prevent the Alevis from becoming a constituent of the Kurdish Freedom Movement. They don’t want Alevis as a force in the political arena. While CHP is trying to keep Alevis in their side through the ‘secular’ rhetoric. The policies against Alevis are extensive. Violence, assimilation, fear, forced migration and pushing people to one party in the system are state policies.”


KCK Peoples and Faiths Committee Member Eren stated that the AKP’s anti-Alevi policies are controlled and sophisticated, and continued: “In the past, because there was no other power the CHP could openly and easily abuse Alevis. There were Alevis who thought of themselves as owners of the Republic and who bought into CHP’s policies for a long time. Some groups within the Turkish left also had a role in the abuse of some groups. CHP was confident in this matter, but the AKP isn’t. AKP is coming at the Alevis in a very deliberate and controlled way. For instance, they settle different groups in Alevi areas and fragments them. They fragment Alevi organizations or they take them under their control. They discriminate among Alevis and Kurds. They use all these against the Kurdish Freedom Movement. They are carrying out a very controlled attack against Alevis.”


Eren stated that the Turkish state has produced policies called “Alevi openings” through the AKP and the CHP, and stressed that Alevis need to see into this policy of deception. Cihan Eren also pointed out the lack of organization and the dispersed nature of the Alevis in this period and said: “Alevis are experiencing the most dispersed time in their history. The reason why Alevis have been quiet and reactionless in this period is this policy of the AKP. Another reason is that some Alevis still don’t see the truth of the CHP.”


KCK Peoples and Faiths Committee Member Eren stated that fascists marking the houses of Alevis shows that the threat against Alevis continues: “It is significant that the houses of Alevis are being marked at such a critical time. It wasn’t just in Kurdistan, houses of Kurdish Alevis have been marked in the Aegean region and Istanbul as well. Alevis must see this policy. The people who make these markings are paramilitary forces under the AKP. They have been organized to intervene in areas the AKP is losing control in critical periods. Like the Kemalists used to risk massacring Alevis to carry out coups, the AKP now uses these paramilitary forces in a different way to prolong their stay in power.”


Cihan Eren mentioned Erdoğan’s aggression in his nationalist and sectarian speeches and said the following on how the Alevis need to stay aware: “Especially Alevis within the CHP are experiencing this unaware state. The policies against Alevis are systemmic and they stem from the state. Alevis should not act with the mind of the CHP. Alevis won’t be safe from this situation as long as they don’t take a stance against both the CHP and state parties. Alevis know the AKP more or less, but the one that developed the culture of a lack of fight-back is the CHP.”