The Dersim sub-commission asked several institutions to provide documents relating to the events that took place in Dersim, a predominantly Alevi region. Many institutions such as the Presidency, the Prime Minister’s Office and the General Staff shared documents in their achieves concerning the Dersim massacre with the sub-commission. However, MİT, which was expected to have more documents on the incident than any other institution, recently notified the sub-commission that it doesn’t have any documents on the Dersim Massacre in its achieves.
Mehmet Ali Doğaner, who was serving as a soldier during the Dersim incidents, told the sub-commission members last week as a witness to the incidents that he had been collecting military intelligences in the area for seven years as a soldier, which proves that the government was conducting intensive intelligence-gathering activities in the region at that time. Doğaner further stated that there were many foreign agents serving in the region from France and Russia and added Russian agents could speak Kurdish, but Turkish ones could not speak it at all.
Parliament sent official parliamentary reports regarding the Dersim incident to the sub-commission; the General Secretariat of the Presidency shared 986 documents and 20 DVDs of official correspondence concerning communities in the region, military operations and the Dersim incidents to the sub-commission; the Prime Ministry’s General Directorate of State Archives sent 1,826 documents; and the General Staff sent 10,644 documents and four DVDs. The other institutions that sent archival documents to the sub-commission were the Interior Ministry, the Defense Ministry, the Turkish Statistics Institute (TurkStat) and the Health Ministry.
Seyit Rıza, the chief of a Zaza tribe in the region, led the alleged rebellion in Dersim. The government at the time responded with airstrikes and other violent methods of suppression, killing thousands of people.
It is estimated that as many as 70,000 Kurdish Alevis were killed in Dersim between 1937 and 1938. According to the official figures, 13,806 people were killed, and 12,000 people were exiled.
Officials from the sub-commission are currently investigating petitions in which families mainly request that their family members’ graves be identified and that the government officially apologize for the massacre and pay compensation to the families of the victims.
The sub-commission is expected to hear from survivors and ask several institutions to provide documents relating to the events that took place in Dersim.