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The Dersim Genocide 1938

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  • The Dersim Genocide 1938


    In order to create a Turkish nation from above, Turkish nationalists waged a bloody campaign against non-Turkish and non-Muslim elements of the empire.
    The First World War served as an excuse for the Young Turks, the then Turkish goverment, to exterminate Armenians. It was a deliberate and sustain war, in the course of which hundreds of thousands Armenians, Assyrians and Greeks had been ruthlessly killed or forced into exile.
    The collapse of the Ottomans had left a power vacuum, filled by another section of the Turkish nationalists, called Kemalists at a later time.
    In 1937-38, i.e., at a time when world attention was focused on the Second World War, the Turkish nationalists commited another genocide. This time the victims were Dersimis, who are also known as Kızılbash or Alevis. Approximately 40.000-70.000 of them were killed and thousands were taken into exile. The Dersim Genocide of 1937-1938 was on one hand a continuation of the Kızılbash extermination of the Ottoman times and also an extermination of an ethnically distinct and separate people from Turks.
    What happened back then has been handed down to the later generations by their parents and grand-parents, who witnessed the onslaught, and of whom some are still alive.
    Furthermore the sites of the mass graves all over Dersim are well known and can easily be located if and when need be. The ruins of the country`s cultural heritage including churches belonged to the nations`s Christian section are still visible.
    People wish to see the justice served. A search for justice has already began. A legal action against Turkey will at long last be taken at some time in the future.

    Quid est Veritas?

    -----The Democratic Federation of ANATOLIA-----

  • #2
    Re: The Dersim Genocide 1938

    The Suppression of the Dersim Rebellion in Turkey (1937-38)
    [excerpts from: Martin van Bruinessen, "Genocide in Kurdistan? The suppression of the Dersim
    rebellion in Turkey (1937-38) and the chemical war against the Iraqi Kurds (1988)", in: George J.
    Andreopoulos (ed), Conceptual and historical dimensions of genocide. University of Pennsylvania
    Press, 1994, pp. 141-170.
    An Almost Forgotten Massacre: Dersim, 1937-38
    In 1990 a book was published in Turkey that by its very title accused Turkey's one-
    party regime of the 1930s of having committed genocide in the Kurdish district of
    The book was immediately banned and did not generate the debate its
    author, the sociologist Ismail Be ikçi, had hoped for. Be ikçi was the first, and for a
    long time the only, Turkish intellectual to publicly criticize Turkey's official ideology
    and policies regarding the Kurds, beginning with his 1969 study of the socioeconomic
    conditions of eastern Turkey through a whole series of increasingly polemical works.
    He paid a heavy price for his moral and intellectual courage; all his books were
    banned, and he spent more than ten years in prison for writing them. Although my
    conclusions may be slightly different from his, I wish to acknowledge my
    indebtedness to his committed scholarship, and dedicate this chapter to him.
    The massacres with which Be ikçi's book deals occurred in the course of Turkey's
    pacification of the rebellious Kurdish district of Dersim (presently called Tunceli) in
    1937 and 1938. The events represent one of the blackest pages in the history of
    Republican Turkey, gracefully passed over in silence or deliberately misrepresented by
    most historians, foreign as well as Turkish.
    As the campaign against Dersim went on,
    the authorities made sure that little information about it reached the outside world.
    Diplomatic observers in Ankara were aware that large military operations were taking
    place, but had little idea of what was actually going on. After the events, however, the
    British consul at Trebizond, the diplomatic post closest to Dersim, spoke of brutal and
    indiscriminate violence and made an explicit comparison with the Armenian
    massacres of 1915. "Thousands of Kurds," he wrote, "including women and children,
    were slain; others, mostly children, were thrown into the Euphrates; while thousands
    of others in less hostile areas, who had first been deprived of their cattle and other belongings, were deported to vilayets (provinces) in Central Anatolia. It is now stated
    that the Kurdish question no longer exists in Turkey."
    I shall first, using the few available sources, attempt to give an impression of the
    situation in Dersim prior to the pacification campaign and sketch the events of 1937
    and 1938. Then I shall attempt to show that what we are dealing with was not merely
    the brutal suppression of an internal rebellion but part of a wider policy directed
    against the Kurds as such.
    Dersim is an inaccessible district of high, snowcapped mountains, narrow valleys,
    and deep ravines in central Eastern Turkey. It was inhabited by a large number of
    small tribes, eking out a marginal existence by animal husbandry, horticulture, and
    gathering forest products. Their total numbers were, by the mid-1930s, estimated at
    65,000 to 70,000.
    Dersim was a culturally distinct part of Kurdistan, partly due to
    ecological-geographical factors, partly to a combination of linguistic and religious
    peculiarities. Some of the tribes spoke Kurdish proper, but most spoke another, related
    language known as Zaza. All adhered to the heterodox Alevi sect, which separated
    them socially from the Sunni Kurds living to the east and south (among whom there
    were both Zaza and Kurdish speakers). Although there are Alevis in many other parts
    of Turkey, those of Dersim constitute a distinct group, with different beliefs and
    Dersim was, by the mid-1930s, the last part of Turkey that had not been effectively
    brought under central government control. The tribes of Dersim had never been
    subdued by any previous government; the only law they recognized was traditional
    tribal law. Tribal chieftains and religious leaders wielded great authority over the
    commoners, whom they often exploited economically. They were not opposed to
    government as such, as long as it did not interfere too much in their affairs. Many
    chieftains, in fact, strengthened their position by establishing close relations with the
    military and police officers appointed to the region. There was a tradition of refusing
    to pay taxes — but then there was little that could be taxed, as the district was
    desperately poor. Young men evaded military service when they could, but by 1935 a
    considerable proportion of them did in fact serve in the Turkish army.
    There were perpetual conflicts between the tribes, often taking the form of
    protracted feuds. Many of the tribesmen carried arms, and raids against neighboring tribes were not uncommon. The local military officials were often drawn into the
    tribal conflicts too, as some chieftains accused their enemies of conspiring against the
    state. At the same time there was Kurdish nationalist agitation among the tribes,
    carried out by the educated sons of leading families.
    In 1936 Dersim was placed
    under military government, with the express aim of pacifying and "civilizing" it. The
    tribes' response to the modernization brought by the state, consisting of roads, bridges,
    and police posts, was ambiguous. Some chieftains sought accommodation with the
    military authorities, others resented this interference in their former independence. By
    early 1937, the authorities believed, or had been led to believe, that a major rebellion
    was at hand, a show of resistance against the pacification program, instigated by
    nationalists. The person said to be the chief conspirator was a religious leader, Seyyit
    Riza. Five tribes (out of around one hundred) were said to be involved in the
    The military campaign against Dersim was mounted in response to a relatively
    minor incident, and it would seem that the army had been waiting for a direct reason
    to punish the tribes. One day in March 1937, a strategic wooden bridge was burned
    down and telephone lines cut. Seyyit Riza and the tribes associated with him were
    suspected. The army may have believed this to be the beginning of the expected
    rebellion. One Turkish source mentions that there was around the same time another
    minor incident elsewhere in Kurdistan and suggests coordination by Kurdish
    The official history of the military campaign, however, considers the
    incident as of a local nature only.
    It is hard, in retrospect, to separate intertribal
    violence from deliberate rebellion against the state. One pro-Turkish source in fact
    suggests that the suspicions against Seyyit Riza were based on denunciations by his
    local enemies.
    In any case, the army had its warrant for intervention. The first troops,
    sent in to arrest the suspects, were stopped by armed tribesmen. The confrontations
    soon escalated. When the tribes kept refusing to surrender their leaders, a large
    campaign was mounted. Military operations to subdue the region lasted throughout the
    summer of 1937. In September, Seyyit Riza and his closest associates surrendered, but
    the next spring the operations were resumed with even greater force. They must have
    been of unprecedented violence and brutality.
    The few existing accounts of the events are necessarily partisan. One important book
    was written by a local man, the veterinarian and nationalist activist Nuri Dersimi, who
    was involved in the early stages of the rebellion, and who lost many relatives in the
    military reprisals. The book he published fourteen years later in Syrian exile is
    obviously colored by his nationalist views and may contain certain cosmetic
    corrections, but seems on the whole reliable.
    The best I can do is to quote verbatim
    some passages.
    When the Turkish troops began hunting down the rebellious tribes, the men gave
    battle, while the women and children hid in deep caves. "Thousands of these women
    and children perished," Dersimi writes, "because the army bricked up the entrances of
    the caves. These caves are marked with numbers on the military maps of the area. At
    the entrances of other caves, the military lit fires to cause those inside to suffocate.
    Those who tried to escape from the caves were finished off with bayonets. A large
    proportion of the women and girls of the Kureyshan and Bakhtiyar [two rebel tribes]
    threw themselves from high cliffs into the Munzur and Parchik ravines, in order not to
    fall into the Turks' hands."
    The Kirgan, a tribe that had opted for submission to the Turkish army and broken
    with the rebels, was not treated with greater clemency: "Because the Kirgan trusted the
    Turks they remained in their villages, while the rebel Bakhtiyar withdrew. As a result,
    they were destroyed. Their chieftains were tortured and then shot dead. All who tried
    to escape or sought refuge with the army were rounded up. The men were shot on the
    spot, the women and children were locked into haysheds, that were set fire to."
    When winter approached and the army could not continue its operations, it offered
    a cease-fire and a peaceful settlement with the rebels, while promising to leave the
    other tribes in peace and to give compensation for the damage done.
    These promises
    served to lure the chief rebel leader, Seyyit Riza, into the town of Erzincan (whose
    governor he knew and trusted). He was arrested, together with his retinue of some fifty
    men. They were summarily tried and eleven of them, including Seyyit Riza, were
    immediately executed.
    In the spring of 1938 military operations resumed on an even larger scale. The
    Karabal, Ferhad and Pilvank tribes, which surrendered, were annihilated. Women and
    children of these tribes were locked into haysheds and burnt alive. Men and women of the Pilvank and A a₣ı Abbas tribes, that had always remained loyal to the
    government, were lined up in the In and Inciga valleys and shot. The women and girls
    in Irgan village were rounded up, sprinkled with kerosine and set alight. Khech, the
    chief village of the Sheykh Mehmedan tribe, which had already surrendered, was
    attacked at night and all inhabitants were killed by machine gun and artillery fire. The
    inhabitants of Hozat town and the Karaca tribe, men, women and children, were
    brought near the military camp outside Hozat and killed by machine gun. (...)
    Thousands of women and girls threw themselves into the Munzur river. (...) The entire
    area was covered by a thick mist caused by the artillery fire and air bombardments
    with poisonous gas. (...) Even young men from Dersim who were doing their military
    service in the Turkish army were taken from their regiments and shot.
    Another Dersim-born Kurdish nationalist, Sait Kırmızıtoprak, published in 1970
    under the pseudonym of Dr. ğıvan a history of the Kurdish movement, in which he
    devotes a few pages to the Dersim massacres.
    Though clearly indebted to Dersimi's
    book, he adds some information from oral sources. On the 1938 campaign he writes
    (in free translation):
    In the spring of 1938, the government offered amnesty to all who would
    surrender their arms. The Karabal, Ferhad, Pilvank, Sheykh Mehmedan and
    Karaca tribes, who responded to this call, were entirely annihilated. In a later
    stage, they also killed most of the Kureyshan tribe of Mazgirt district, the
    Yusufan and the Bakhtiyar tribes, not sparing women, old men and children.
    They were killed en masse, in many cases by the bayonet. Towards the end of
    summer, the Hormekan, Kureyshan and .Alan of Nazimiye district, and part of
    the Bamasuran of Mazgirt were also annihilated, by poison gas bombs as well
    as by bayonets. Their corpses were doused with kerosine and set alight.
    Improbable though it may seem, these accounts are to a large extent confirmed by the
    documents published in the official military history of the campaign.
    Only the claim
    that the army used poison gas in the 1938 offensive, made by both Dersimi and ğivan,
    cannot be substantiated. At several instances the reports mention the arrest of women
    and children, but elsewhere we read of indiscriminate killing of humans and animals.
    Quid est Veritas?

    -----The Democratic Federation of ANATOLIA-----


    • #3
      Re: The Dersim Genocide 1938

      With professional pride, reports list how many "bandits" and dependents were
      "annihilated," and how many villages and fields were burned. Groups who were
      hiding in caves were entirely wiped out. The body count in these reports (in some
      engagements a seemingly exact number like 76, in others "the entire band of Haydaran
      tribesmen and part of the Demenan") adds up to something between three and seven
      thousand, while tens of villages are reported destroyed. In seventeen days of the 1938
      offensive alone, 7,954 persons were reported killed or caught alive;
      the latter were
      definitely a minority. According to these official reports, then, almost 10 percent of
      the entire population of Tunceli was killed. The Kurds claim that their losses were
      even higher.
      Genocide or Ethnocide?
      The killing in Dersim was undoubtedly massive, indiscriminate, and excessively
      brutal, but was it genocide? Was the killing done "with intent to destroy, in whole or
      in part" the Kurds (or only the people of Dersim) "as such"? Or was it only the
      suppression of an armed rebellion, with considerable overkill? I shall try to show that
      it was neither. There was never a policy of physically destroying the Kurds or part of
      them as such. There was, however, in the Dersim campaign, a deliberate intent to
      destroy rebels and potential rebels, and this was part of a general policy directed
      toward the Kurds as such. But this policy is more appropriately termed ethnocide, the
      destruction of Kurdish ethnic identity.
      Intent to destroy may be inferred from the wording of the Secret Decision of the
      Council of Ministers on the Punitive Expedition to Dersim of 4 May 1937.
      decision envisages a final solution to the perpetual rebellions in Dersim. "This time,"
      it reads, "the people in the rebellious districts will be rounded up and deported." But
      then it orders the army to "render those who have used arms or are still using them
      once and for all harmless on the spot, to completely, destroy their villages and to
      remove their families." Given the fact that almost every man in Dersim was known to
      carry arms, this reads like a brief to kill all men in the area.
      It is not immediately obvious from official sources that the Dersim campaign was
      directed against the Kurds as such. There are no explicit references to Kurds, because
      the Kurds by that time had already been defined out of existence. The military reports
      call all people of Dersim indiscriminately "bandits" (haydut). Interior Minister ğükrü
      Kaya, however, had found it necessary to inform the National Assembly that the
      people of Dersim were "authentic Turks," thereby implicitly mentioning the
      unmentionable ethnic dimension of the Dersim question.
      The problem was, of
      course, that most people in Dersim were not yet aware of their Turkishness. Many did not know any Turkish at all, and the authorities had to communicate with them
      through interpreters;
      airplanes dropped leaflets "in the local language."
      Dersimi and ğivan, both local men, are at pains to show that the Dersim rebellion
      was in fact a Kurdish nationalist rebellion, and that this was the reason for the
      brutality of the campaign. But they appear to project too much of their own sentiments
      on the rebels, who acted out of narrower interests and loyalties than lofty national
      ideals. The rebellion seems to have been primarily a response to government
      interference in the tribes' affairs, resistance to what the government saw as its
      "civilizing mission."
      The regime presented this mission — begun well before the rebellion — as a
      determined struggle against backwardness and the oppression of the people by feudal
      lords, tribal chieftains, and reactionary religious leaders. One observer close to
      government circles enthused, soon after the Dersim campaign, on its civilizing effects:
      the tribal chieftains, the mischievous religious leaders and their accomplices
      have been caught and deported to the west. The successful military operations
      have once and for all uprooted any possibility for a future bandit movement in
      Tunceli. Dersim is from now on liberated and saved. There remains no place in
      Dersim now where the army has not set foot, where the officers and
      commanders have not applied their intelligence and energies. Once again the
      army has, in performing this great task, earned the eternal gratitude of the
      Turkish nation.
      In practice, however, the thrust of the government effort, including the operations in
      Dersim, was not so much directed against "feudalism" and backwardness as against
      Kurdish ethnic identity. The brutal Dersim campaign was but the culmination of a
      series of measures taken in order to forcibly assimilate the Kurds, as I shall presently
      The Kurdish Policies of Republican Turkey
      The Republic of Turkey, proclaimed in 1923, owes its existence to the War of
      Independence fought by Mustafa Kemal and his associates against the various other
      nations claiming parts of the former Ottoman territories in the wake of the First World
      War-notably Greeks, Armenians, French, and Italians. A "National Pact" defined the
      extent of territory for which the independence movement fought as the former
      Ottoman lands inhabited by non-Arab Muslims — in other words, by Turks and
      Kurds, for these were the major non-Arab Muslim groups in the Empire. Kurds took
      part in this struggle along with the Turks, and the movement's leaders in fact often spoke of a Turkish-Kurdish brotherhood, and of the new state as being made up of
      Turks and Kurds. In January 1923, Mustafa Kemal still suggested there might be local
      autonomy for Kurdish-inhabited areas,
      but his policies soon changed drastically.
      The very fact that the new republic was called "Turkey" (a borrowing from European
      languages) already indicated that some citizens were going to be more equal than
      The new republican elite, careful to preserve their hard-won victory, were obsessed
      with threats to territorial integrity and with imperialist ploys to sow division. In this
      regard, the Kurds were perceived to be a serious risk. There was a Kurdish
      independence movement, albeit a weak one, which had initially received some
      encouragement from the British. The call for Muslim unity, sounded during the War
      of Independence, had been more effective among the Kurds than Kurdish nationalist
      agitation, but when Turkey set on a course of secularization the very basis of this unity
      disappeared. The Kemalists attempted to replace Islam as the unifying factor by a
      Turkey-based nationalism. In so doing, they provoked the Kurdish nationalist response
      that they feared.
      Some policies caused grievances among much wider circles than those of
      committed Kurdish nationalists alone. In the World War, numerous Kurds had fled to
      the west when Russian armies occupied eastern Anatolia. As early as 1919, the
      government decided to disperse them over the western provinces, in groups not larger
      than three hundred each, so that they would not constitute more than 5 percent of the
      population in any one locality. Some Kurds who wished to return to Kurdistan were
      prevented from doing so.
      In the new Turkey, all modern education was henceforth
      to be in Turkish; moreover, traditional Islamic schools (medrese) were closed down in
      1924. These two radical changes effectively denied the Kurds access to education.
      Other secularizing measures (abolition of the caliphate, the office of shaikh al-islam,
      and the religious courts; all in 1924) caused much resentment in traditional Muslim
      circles. Kurdish nationalist intellectuals and army officers then joined forces with disaffected religious leaders, resulting in the first great Kurdish rebellion, led by
      Shaikh Said in 1925.
      The rebellion was put down with a great show of military force. The leaders were
      caught and hanged, and severe reprisals were taken in those districts which had
      participated in the uprising. According to a Kurdish nationalist source, the military
      operations resulted in the pillaging of more than two hundred villages, the destruction
      of well over eight thousand houses, and fifteen thousand deaths.
      Shaikh Said's
      rebellion did not pose a serious military threat to Turkey, but it constitutes a watershed
      in the history of the republic. It accelerated the trend toward authoritarian government
      and ushered in policies which deliberately aimed at destroying Kurdish ethnicity.
      Immediately after the outbreak of the rebellion, the relatively liberal prime minister
      Fethi Okyar was deposed and replaced with the grim Ismet Inönü. By way of defining
      his position on the Kurds, Inönü publicly stated, "We are openly nationalist.
      Nationalism is the only cause that keeps us together. Besides the Turkish majority,
      none of the other [ethnic] elements shall have any impact. We shall, at any price,
      turkicize those who live in our country, and destroy those who rise up against the
      Turks and Turkdom."
      Quid est Veritas?

      -----The Democratic Federation of ANATOLIA-----


      • #4
        Re: The Dersim Genocide 1938

        Several other local rebellions followed, the largest of which took place in 1928-30 in
        the area around Mount Ararat. This was the most purely nationalist of all rebellions,
        organized and coordinated by a Kurdish political party in exile. In all these rebellions,
        however, tribes played the major part, acting under their own aghas (chieftains) and
        sometimes coordinated by shaikhs, religious leaders of wide-ranging authority. (Hence
        the emphasis, in Turkish public discourse, on the need to abolish "feudalism,"
        tribalism, and religious reaction.) The government, perceiving this, responded by
        executing some shaikhs and aghas and separating the others from their tribes by
        deporting them to other parts of the country. Some entire tribes (notably those that had
        taken part in the Ararat rebellion) were deported and dispersed over western Turkey.
        The first deportations were simply reprisals against rebellious tribes. In later years,
        deportations became part of the concerted effort to assimilate the Kurds. The
        turkification program announced by Inönü was embarked upon with characteristic
        vigor. The Kurdish language, Kurdish dress, Kurdish folklore, even the very word
        "Kurd" were banned. Scholars provided "proof" that the "tribes of the East" were of
        pure Turkish stock, and that their language was Turkish, though somewhat corrupted
        due to their close proximity to Iran. Henceforth they were to be called "Mountain
        Turks." It goes without saying that there was no place for dissenting views in
        academic or public life. Another historical theory developed under government
        sponsorship in those days held that all great civilizations — Chinese, Indian, Muslim,
        even ancient Egyptian and Etruscan — were of Turkish origin. Turkification, even when by force, was therefore by definition a civilizing process. The embarrassing
        question why it was necessary to turkify people who were said to be Turks already
        was never addressed.
        Massive population resettlement was one measure by which the authorities hoped to
        strengthen the territorial integrity of the country and speed up the process of
        assimilation. Kurds were to be deported to western Turkey and widely dispersed,
        while Turks were to be settled in their place. The most important policy document, the
        Law on Resettlement of 1934, shows quite explicitly that turkification was the primary
        objective of resettlement. The law defined three categories of (re)settlement zones:
        — one consisting of those districts "whose evacuation is desirable for health,
        economic, cultural, political and security reasons and where settlement has been
        — the second of districts "designated for transfer and resettlement of the population
        whose assimilation to Turkish culture is desired,"
        — and the third of "places where an increase of the population of Turkish culture is
        In other words, certain Kurdish districts (to be designated later) were to be
        depopulated completely, while in the other Kurdish districts the Kurdish element was
        to be diluted by the resettlement there of Turks (and possibly deportations of local
        Kurds). The deportees were to be resettled in Turkish districts, where they could be
        The intent of breaking up Kurdish society so as to assimilate it more rapidly is also
        evident from several other passages in the law. Article 11, for instance, precludes
        attempts by non-Turkish people to preserve their cultures by sticking together in
        ethnically homogeneous villages or trade guilds. "Those whose mother tongue is not
        Turkish will not be allowed to establish as a group new villages or wards, workers' or
        artisans' associations, nor will such persons be allowed to reserve an existing village,
        ward, enterprise or workshop for members of the same race."
        This is clearly more
        than just legal discrimination; the Law on Resettlement provides the legal framework
        for a policy of ethnocide.
        It is against the background of this law that the pacification of Dersim has to be
        considered. Dersim was one of the first regions where it was to be applied. A year after the Law on Resettlement, in December 1935, the Grand National Assembly
        passed a special law on Dersim. The district was constituted into a separate province
        and placed under a military governor, who was given extraordinary powers to arrest
        and deport individuals and families. The Minister of the Interior of the day, ğükrü
        Kaya, explained the need for this law with references to its backwardness and the
        unruliness of the tribes. The district was in a state of lawlessness, caused by ignorance
        and poverty. The tribes settled all legal affairs, civil as well as criminal, according to
        their own primitive tribal law, with complete disregard of the state. The minister
        termed the situation a disease, and added that eleven earlier military campaigns, under
        the ancien régime, had failed to cure it. A radical treatment was needed, he said, and
        the law was part of a reform program (with "civilized methods," he insisted) that
        would make these people also share in the blessings of the republic.
        The minister's metaphor of disease and treatment appears to be borrowed from a
        report on Dersim that was prepared ten years earlier for the same ministry. This
        document was reproduced in the official history of the military campaign, as a
        guideline for military policy. The author, Hamdi Bey, called Dersim "an abscess [that)
        the Republican government. . . would have to operate upon in order to prevent worse
        pain." He was more explicit than ğükrü Kaya about the nature of Dersim's malady: it
        was the growing Kurdish ethnic awareness.
        The treatment began with the construction of roads and bridges, and of police
        posts and government mansions in every large village. The unrest resulting from this
        imposition of government control provided the direct reason for the pacification
        campaign of 1937-38, which at the same time served to carry out the first large-scale
        deportations under the 1934 law.
        After the Dersim rebellion had been suppressed,
        other Kurdish regions being "civilized" from above knew better than to resist.
        The Kemalist enterprise was a grandiose attempt to create a new world. Mustafa
        Kemal and his associates had created a vigorous new state out of the ruins of the
        Ottoman Empire, the Sick Man of Europe. By banning the Arabic script they
        destroyed all memory of the past and were free to rewrite history as they felt it should
        have been. The Kemalists set out to create a modern, progressive, unitary nation out of
        what was once a patchwork of distinct ethnic communities. Whatever appeared to
        undermine national unity, be it ethnic or class divisions, was at once denied and brutally suppressed. In the Kemalists' eyes, this was a process of liberation, an
        assertion of human dignity and equality.
        "The people of Ankara, Diyarbakir, Trabzon and Macedonia," Mustafa Kemal
        proclaimed, "are all children of the same race, xxxels cut out of the same precious
        stone." Reality often turned out to be less equalitarian. Even today, a person whose
        identity card shows that he was born in Tunceli will be treated with suspicion and
        antipathy by officials and will not easily find employment, even if he is quite
        Another famous saying of Mustafa Kemal, inscribed on official buildings
        and statues throughout the country, is subtly ambiguous: "how fortunate is he who
        calls himself a Turk!" — implying little good for those who don't. Justice Minister
        Mahmut Esat was less subtle but robustly straightforward when he proclaimed in
        1930, "The Turks are the only lords of this country, its only owners. Those who are
        not of pure Turkish stock have in this country only one right, that of being servants, of
        being slaves. Let friend and foe, and even the mountains know this truth!"
        The ambivalence, or internal contradiction, inherent in the Kemalist position on
        the Kurds has persisted for over half a century. The Kemalist concept of Turkishness
        is not based on a biological definition of race. Everyone in Turkey (apart from,
        perhaps, the Christian minorities) is a Turk, and many are the Kurds who have made
        brilliant political careers once they adopted Turkish identity. Both President Turgut
        Özal and opposition leader Erdal Inönü are of (partially) Kurdish descent. But there is
        also a sense of Turkish racial superiority that occasionally comes to the surface.
        Mutually contradictory though these attitudes are, they have reinforced one another in
        the suppression of Kurdish ethnicity.
        The democratization of Turkey, which began after World War II, brought a resurgence
        of Kurdish ethnic awareness, along with an upsurge of left- and right-wing radicalism.
        Military coups in 1960, 1971, and 1980 sought to restore Kemalist purity, and resulted
        in renewed efforts at forced assimilation of the Kurds. Tunceli, the old Dersim, has
        come in for more than its share of repression. No longer a "den of ignorance and
        primitive tribalism," it has for the past few decades been considered a hotbed of
        communism, besides remaining ineradicably Kurdish. A few years ago, new plans
        were made to evacuate large parts of Tunceli and to resettle the inhabitants in the
        west, ostensibly for the sake of reforestation.
        The majority of the people of Dersim
        now live in the diaspora, either in western Turkey or abroad. Not much is left of
        Dersim's distinctive culture.
        Quid est Veritas?

        -----The Democratic Federation of ANATOLIA-----


        • #5
          Dersim genocide 1938

          you should know this tragedy.
          dersim s zazas helped armenians during genocide. dersim rebels helped 30.000 armenians to escape from ottoman terror. after that turkish fascists punished dersim citizens.
          Dersim in Eastern Turkey, in 1937-1938, approximately 65000-70000 Alevi Kurds[1] were killed and thousands were taken into exile. A key component of the turkification process was the policy of massive population resettlement. Referring to the main policy document in this context, the 1934 law on resettlement, a policy targeting the region of Dersim as one of its first test cases, with disastrous consequences for the local population[2]. The Dersim genocide is often confused with the Dersim rebellion that took place during these events


          • #6
            Re: Dersim genocide 1938

            I know enough about it to know Kurdish propaganda. You are misusing the word "genocide".
            Last edited by bell-the-cat; 05-06-2009, 08:34 AM.
            Plenipotentiary meow!


            • #7
              Re: Dersim genocide 1938

              Can you explain why? I don't know, that's why I'm asking.


              • #8
                Re: The Dersim Genocide 1938

                That is right. Around 70.000 people died in this genocide. After the genocide villages and other places that had Zaza and Armenian names were changed into Turkish names. Dersim was the last territory in Anatolia that was kind of independent from Ottomans and Turks. Zazas in Dersim didn't even know any Turkish at that time. Even my grandparents have difficulties with Turkish since they first learned Zazaish and had learned Turkish at school.
                The Republic of Turkey was built on massacres and genocides against non-Turks and non-Muslims. It was built by generals and politicians that were directly involved in these massacres. In short, this republic was built by criminals.


                • #9
                  Re: The Dersim Genocide 1938

                  Zaza / Dimili (Kirmanci/kizilbash) are not Kurds. There're similarities between them, but that does not automaticly mean that they are Kurds.
                  You should always feel in the deepest part of your heart any injustice toward any person anywhere in the world.

                  Che Guevara


                  • #10
                    Re: Dersim genocide 1938

                    Originally posted by bell-the-cat View Post
                    You are misusing the word "genocide".
                    It was ethnocide.
                    Last edited by Alevigirl88; 08-26-2009, 08:45 AM.
                    You should always feel in the deepest part of your heart any injustice toward any person anywhere in the world.

                    Che Guevara