2 July 1993, the Madimak Hotel massacre
On this day in 1993 one of the most brutal attacks against Alevites took place in Sivas.
On 2 July 1993, a group of radical Islamists calling for sharia and death to infidels gathered around the Madimak Hotel where the Pir Sultan Abdal Alevite Festival attendants were accommodated in Sivas province.
The demonstration which started under cover of protesting novelist, Aziz Nesin, who translated and published Salman Rushdie's The Satanic Verses and criticized Islam, turned into a violent attack and eventually the crowd set fire to the Madimak Hotel.
Nesin was saved by security forces, but 37 other intellectuals and festival participants who were stuck in the hotel, were killed. Security forces were criticized for not stopping the crowd.
Although a couple of perpetrators were arrested and were convicted after a 13-year trial, they were soon released under an amnesty law known as the “rehabilitation project”
The Sivas massacre targeted not only Aziz Nesin and The Satanic Verses but also Turkey's Alevi minority who are the second largest religious community in Turkey, although no official statistics are available.
Alevites, unlike Sunnis, represent a more liberal wing of Islam.