May 5, 2020 - 17:46 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Turkey's Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) has demanded an official apology for the 1937 Dersim massacre and the establishment of a truth commission to heal the wounds of one of the bloodiest stains on the country’s history.
HDP MP Alican Onlu tabled a series of parliamentary questions calling on President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to restore the rights of the people of Dersim, in the largely Kurdish south-east, Morning Star reports.
He called for a truth & acknowledgement commission to open the archives and court records to the public and for the perpetrators of the massacre to be tried in absentia. Mr Onlu asked for May 4 to be officially recognised as Dersim massacre memorial day.
Measures must be taken to end to the forced assimilation policies that crushed the Kurdish language, beliefs and culture of the people of Dersim, which is known by the official Turkish state name of Tunceli, he said.
A decree signed in the Turkish parliament on May 4 1937 led to an onslaught by the army and the massacre of up to 70,000 people.
The massacre followed a rebellion led by Kurdish Alevi chieftain Seyid Riza against the Turkification policies of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of the Turkish republic. Riza was hanged by the state in November 1937 and buried in an unknown location.
Witness statements describe the brutality inflicted on the people of Dersim, including chemical weapons dropped by the Turkish air force. Among the pilots was Ataturk’s adopted daughter Sabiha Gokcen, celebrated as the country’s first female flyer.