One of the most important aspects of the Dersim discussion is the relationship between the Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the Alevis. The friends of Ergenekon ask this: “You argue that a massacre was committed in Dersim and that the CHP was responsible for it, but why do the Alevis still vote CHP?” True, this is an important question: Why have the Alevis not given up on the CHP?
The Turkish Republic is a disappointment for the Alevis. In fact, they are aware of what has been done to them since the early stages of the republican regime. Researcher-writer Cafer Solgun from Dersim in his book, “The Alevis’ Test with Kemalism,” explains the issue in detail. The Alevis were ignored by the republican elites. In the republican regime, which strived to create a single nation, only the Turks were recognized. There were no Kurds, no Alevis; there was only Turks and Sunnis. And the Sunnis were kept under the control of the state-run Religious Affairs Directorate. Intimidation was the biggest weapon of the regime, which deemed separatism, Shariah law and communism as the biggest threats. They created polarization in society through intimidation and then promotion of military coups.
Yes, the Alevis were ignored by the republican elites. Not only this, these elites also attempted to annihilate them with repression, intimidation, massacres and assimilation policies. The primary victims of the bill on the abolishment of religious shrines and places adopted in 1925 were the Alevis. Religious and clerical titles, such as “dede,” “baba,” “pir,” “seyyit,” and “çelebi,” which occupied a central place in the Alevi faith, were banned. The argument that the Alevis were relieved after the arrival of the secular republican regime is the reason why the Alevis support the CHP is nonsense.
The Alevis were intimidated not only during the early years of the republican era; the Madımak Hotel massacre in Sivas on July 2, 1993, the Maraş events in 1978 and the Gazi incidents 1995 were all part of a provocation by the deep state. Six months after the Madımak massacre, journalist Uğur Mumcu was killed in an attempt to create an atmosphere of fear that Turkey was going to turn in a country ruled by Shariah law. Those who attended his funeral were encouraged to condemn the Shariah law, and following the funeral leading intellectuals known for their secularist views were murdered. They told the Alevis this: “Shariah is the greatest danger; if it is in place, you and your children will be killed and they will annihilate you.” The deep state, today referred to as Ergenekon, has always relied on the Alevi-Sunni conflict whenever it needs to create chaos and turmoil. Alevis were considered the guard of the regime in the secular-anti-secular polarization.
But why have the Alevis been unable to detach themselves from the CHP, which supports Ergenekon, visits the detainees in Silivri Prison and takes action to make sure that the leading suspects are elected deputies in an attempt to undermine the legitimacy of the ongoing investigation? Why are the victims of the guardianship mentality submissive to a political approach that serves the interests of the guardianship?
This is because the Alevis have been intimidated; only the Alevis would know how it feels to be burned alive in front of the military units in Madımak. Those who have intimidated them since 1925 have kept only one door and way open: the military, CHP and Kemalism. The right-wing political parties have never been safe havens for them. There was no other door for them, so they picked the CHP; their fears left only one safe haven for them. As underlined by Solgun, they chose to give the impression that they are on the side of the strong and powerful to ensure their survival.
But now the Alevis have come to a crossroads: Plans to assassinate leading Alevi figures that were revealed in the coup plans discovered during the Ergenekon investigation and the CHP’s attitude in respect to the Dersim issue have taken them to a different point.
They will seek answers to two questions: 1. Will the CHP be able to confront the Dersim case by distancing itself from the single-party regime? 2. Will the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) be able to present itself as a reliable alternative for them?