Street in Erciş named after a perpetrator of Zilan genocide

Erciş District Governor and trustee Nuri Mehmetbeyoğlu has named a street in the district centre of Erciş after Süleyman Erdinç, one of the perpetrators of the Zilan Genocide.

Erciş’s government-appointed mayor and District Governor Nuri Mehmetbeyoğlu named the busiest street of Erciş downtown after Süleyman Erdinç, one of the local militia members who took part in the 1930 Zilan Genocide.


More than 50 thousand people were killed during the genocide committed by the Turkish state in the vicinity of the Zilan Valley in 1930. Pro-state militias in Erciş played a leading role in the genocide. The most prominent of these militias were brothers İdris and Süleyman Erdinç. Properties and lands of the people killed in Erciş were handed over to İdris and Süleyman Erdinç as a reward for their participation. The mayor's office of Erciş was also granted to this family.


Writer and sociologist İkram İşler from Erciş stated that naming a street in the district after Süleyman Erdinç, a perpetrator of the genocide, means that the state protects those who massacred the Kurds. Remarking that the state should apologize to the Kurdish nation for the bloody massacres, İşler said: “Naming a street after a perpetrator of a genocide reveals that the Zilan genocide is still going on and the state is proud of the killers.”


Işler recalled that 15,000 people were massacred in the Zilan Stream in 1930, according to official sources. He continued: “Unable to suppress the rebellion in Ağrı at the time, the state perpetrated this massacre to intimidate and deter them. The massacre was carried out by an army of 300-men strong murderers. It was carried out not by the army troops in Erciş, but by a group of mobs with psychological problems gathered together by Ahmed Derviş, an officer who was specifically dispatched from Erzincan. Ahmet Derviş came into prominence with the massacres during the uprising in Konya. He was known to be a furious murderer. He was specifically commissioned for the massacre in Zilan. They organized the massacre with the officials on the spot after he arrived. Mayor İdris and his brother Süleyman Erdinç also took part in the planning group that sought to “teach the Kurds a lesson to be remembered forever”. Those plans are the cause of our suffering that is still fresh today. The militias from Erciş, who acted together with the furious murderer Ahmet Derviş, were later rewarded by the state and praised in a report by the Cumhuriyet Newspaper.


İşler pointed out that these perpetrators are still considered heroes by the Turkish state, yet for the Kurdish people, they are traitors and murderers of their own nation. He stated: “Honouring a genocide perpetrator by giving his name to a street deeply hurts all our people. We understand that the state has not forgotten this massacre and wants to perpetuate mass slaughters. It also shows the state and citizens still do not speak the same language. It is terrifying to see that nothing has changed in 93 years. We just hope that this is done out of carelessness. If this is a conscious attitude, then it is much worse. The same holds true for the racist attack by displaying a picture of a notorious murderer together with images of white Renault Toros cars during the Bursaspor-Amedspor match. It means that the state wants to say that we will continue to kill you.”

Mahmut Yıldırım, also known by the alias "Yeşil" (Green) was a former intelligence officer held responsible for dozens of extrajudicial killings in the country's predominantly Kurdish-majority regions during the notorious 1990s. White Renault Toros became a symbol of the enforced disappearances at the time as many people would be put in those cars while being abducted.