The Sivas massacre concerns the killing of 37 people in the province of Sivas on July 2, 1993, when an angry mob protesting the attendance of writer Aziz Nesin, a self-proclaimed atheist, at an Alevi festival set the Madımak Hotel on fire. Thirty-three artists and intellectuals, along with two hotel workers and two members of the protesting mob, died in the fire.
According to Yeni Akit, which carried photographs of the victims' bodies taken at the morgue on the day of the incident on its front page, the autopsy reports that stated the cause of the deaths was fire were filled with lies and that the photos corroborate the statement of noncommissioned officer Galip Deniz, who was serving at the Sivas Military Hospital at the time of the fire. In admissions made after the incident, Deniz stated, “There were some inside the hotel who were shot to death.”
Elvan Cantemur, who lost his nephew in the hotel fire in Sivas, told Yeni Akit on Tuesday that the remains of the 37 victims should be exhumed for another autopsy.
“It is our right to know how and by whom our children were killed. It is obvious that the autopsy reports of the 37 people were fabricated. The Sivas incident was perpetrated by the state, subcontractor organizations and provocateurs posing as intellectuals,” he said.
Sivas Journalists' Association President Fikret Ünsal complained to Yeni Akit that the evidence related to the incident was kept secret and that even the guns which belonged to the people at the hotel were not examined. “If all this had been done at the time, we would not have had to wait until today for light to be shed on the incident,” he said.
Survivors of the massacre and the relatives of the victims have said that the state investigation was ineffective and that the Sivas police chief and governor as well as the interior minister, along with the deputy prime minister and prime minister of the time, should be investigated for their failure to intervene in the environment of chaos that followed the incident.