CHP Tunceli deputy Hüseyin Aygün will ask President Gül to begin an investigation to uncover the hidden aspects of the Dersim incident, which has been officially called the Dersim Rebellion, although many historians and intellectuals believe the resulting military operation executed by the state was nothing but a pure extermination of the Kurdish-Alevis of Dersim -- a massacre.
It was vital to be granted an appointment with the president on the anniversary of execution of Seyid Riza -- the chief of a Zaza clan in the region surrounding Dersim -- and his friends, Aygün told the Taraf daily on Friday.
Remarks made by Aygün to Today’s Zaman on Thursday contributed to the reappearance of the issue in the media. When spoke to the Taraf daily on Friday, he reiterated his previous revelations, dismissing the untouchable image and position of Atatürk at a time when millions of people across the country commemorated the 73rd anniversary of his demise, by claiming it is a myth that Mustafa Kemal Atatürk was not aware of the brutal crackdown on Alevis by Turkish troops.
“It’s important to win the president’s support because he can make a contribution to the revelation of the Dersim massacre through the use of his authority [which would allow him to call for the excavation of mass graves in the region and the opening of state archives],” Aygün noted.
While those who claim the Dersim incident was genocide say that around 70,000 Kurdish-Alevi people were killed in Dersim between 1937 and 1938, no official figures have been provided by the authorities. What officials call the Dersim Rebellion took place in 1937 in Dersim, which had historically been a semi-autonomous region. Dersim was renamed Tunceli after the rebellion. The fighting was led by Seyid Riza, the chief of a Zaza clan in the region. In his previous remarks to Today’s Zaman, Aygün indicated: “There was no planned rebellion in Dersim, but rather it was a resistance against the practices of the military. Since there was no planned political movement, it cannot be said there was a rebellion. People were just trying to protect themselves.”
According to Aygün, it is first the Turkish Republic and then the CHP who are responsible for the Dersim massacre.
“It is also not correct to say that the Dersim massacre was carried out by the CHP. There was no other political party at the time,” he said. He thinks that violence has been the primary instrument used in solving the Kurdish issue for decades. On the contrary, given a different context, there would be other methods used to handle the question rather than the exercise of pure coercion and violence, Aygün told the Taraf daily. According to Aygün, the state must not have any red lines and must seek every possible way to reach a permanent state of peace.
He added that Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, the leader of the CHP, stands with him on the issue of Dersim.
Kılıçdaroğlu once criticized Onur Öymen, a former CHP deputy, when he defended the state’s response to the Dersim Rebellion when debates about it erupted in 2009. However, Kılıçdaroğlu abandoned his criticisms when his party officially stood by Öymen.