Date: 2nd July, 1993. Day: Friday. Place: Sivas, Turkey.
According to the police reports, 15.000 fundamental islamists shouted “the Republic of Turkey was founded in Sivas, it will cease to exist in Sivas”, “death to secularists”, and “long live sharia” as they set a fire which started one of the biggest massacres in the history of the Republic of Turkey. As a result, 33 poets, writers, musicians, and caricaturists who came to town for marking the 300th commemoration events forPir Sultan Abdal were burned at Hotel Madimak, where they were to stay for the duration of the event. Both sadly and ironically, Pir Sultan Abdal was hanged in 1500s by the then governor of Sivas for supporting social movements. The purpose of this statement is to mark the negligence of the Republic of Turkey on the issue of Sivas Massacre and to make the international press and public opinion aware.
Of the 15.000 that gathered in Sivas for the purposes of this massacre, only 160 have been tried in a court. Those that are being tried or were tried in court are merely the ones that gathered outside Madimak Hotel, cast the stones and set the fire, however, those unknown powers that urged these 15.000 to stage this violent massacre were never identified and tried in court. Hence, those that provoked the crowd have not been identified. To add more insult, no effort was made on part of the police to catch the members of this crowd, apart from the ones that were already arrested. In addition, no negligence investigations were held for the police forces, the armed forces, the governor, and other administrative and bureaucratic post holding individuals that did not prevent or investigate the massacre. The incidences such as the defendants’ nonchalance toward the court and their attacks on the victim’s families and lawyers during the hearings have compounded the pain involved in the process for the families. Many of the accused have taken advantage of sentence reductions have been released since 1993. Those that were to be tried without detention were ‘allowed’ to disappear and they have not been captured although their location and addresses were known by the authorities.
On December 5th 2008, the victims’ families and lawyers have been shocked by the news that Cafer Ercakmak, one of the main defendants of the case was released on the grounds of statute of prescriptions. The prosecutor requested that the case be dropped against the defendant who was on the deathrow. The court decided afterwards to not grant Cafer Ercakmak the statute of prescriptions, however, the remaining 6 accused are still waiting to be granted the statute of principles. To make matters worse, shocking information was gathered about the six defendants. For example, Ihsan Cakmak, although he was on the run, had a civil marriage ceremony at Altinyayla Municipality. The same defendant started his military duty on 22nd May 1997, and had been given a driver’s licence by the police.
Watch the short video about Sivas Massacre:
During the past 18 years, a number of the lawyers of the accused have been gaining key and powerful roles within the ruling Justice and Development Party and within similar conservative parties that preceded the Justice and Development Party. The list of these lawyers, along with the positions of political power they held since 1993 can be found below.
Over the years, the concerned public communicated its wish to make Madimak Hotel a museum of shame for humanity. However, this demand was consistently ignored by the state and by the ruling parties. On the 18th commemoration of the massacre, the Madimak Hotel has been expropriated and refurbished by the state and has been turned into a cultural learning centre for children. The pictures of Snow White and national fairy tale hero Keloglan now ornament the walls that witnessed the massacre of 33 people 18 years ago. To make matters worse, on the commemorating plate that was installed in the entrance of this new ‘cultural centre’ the names of the murderers were placed alongside the names of the deceased. This has caused an unbearable amount of stress on the victims’ families and on the concerned public. The governor under whose power the hotel was refurbished has so far explained that they have not ‘distinguished between humans, and approached the matter from a human perspective’. The families of the victims have announced that they will be seeking the reversal of this action in court.
Victims of the Sivas Massacre were Asım Bezirci (Literary critic, age 65), Nesimi Çimen (Poet-saz player, Singer, age 62), Metin Altıok (Poet, age 52), Muhlis Akarsu (poet – saz player, singer, age 45), Muhibe Akarsu (age 35), Behçet Aysan (Doctor, poet, age 44), Edibe Sulari (poet-singer, age 40), Uğur Kaynar (Poet, age 37), Erdal Ayrancı (Documentarist, poet, age 35), Asaf Koçak (Caricaturist, age 35), Seher Ateş (Saz player, age 30), İnci Türk (actress, age 22), Muammer Çiçek (Actor, age 27), Gülender Akça (Semah player, age 25), Mehmet Atay (Local journalist and photographer, age 25), Carina Cuanna Thedora Thuijs (Dutch Academician, age 23), Hasret Gültekin (poet, saz player, age 23), Sait Metin (Saz player, age 23), Gülsüm Karababa (Semah player, age 22), Huriye Özkan (Actress, age 22), Yeşim Özkan (Actress, age 20), Murat Gündüz (Student, age 22), Ahmet Özyurt (Student, age 21), Handan Metin (Student, Age 20), Serkan Doğan (Actor, Age 19), Serpil Canik (Semah player, Age 19), Yasemin Sivri (Semah player, age 19), Asuman Sivri (Semah player, age 15), Belkız Çakır (Semah player, age 17), Nurcan Şahin (Semah player, age 17), Özlem Şahin (Semah player, age 16), Menekşe Kaya (Semah player, age 16) and Koray Kaya (Child, age 12).
Informational notes on Sivas Case
- On 11th July 2011, Cafer Ercakmak who was claimed to be outside the country and search by Interpol Red Notice was found dead in Sivas. By the application of victim families’ lawyers, the prosecution decided to open his coffin to ascertain that it was indeed Ercakmak through DNA tests.
- 2. The List of lawyers of the Accused and their political positions they currently hold
Şevket Kazan (Ministery of Interior from Welfare Party – Truepath Party Coalition in 1996 – 1998), Ali Aşlık / Justice and Democracy Party İzmir Deputy (recent), Halil Ürün / Justice and Development Party Afyonkarahisar Deputy (recent), Hayati Yazıcı / Justice and Development Party Istanbul Deputy / Ministery of State, Haydar Kemal Kurt Justice and Development Party Isparta Deputy period 2007-2011, Hüsnü Tuna / Justice and Development Party Konya Deputy period 2007-2011, İbrahim Hakkı Aşkar Justice and Democracy Party Afyonkarahisar Deputy 2007-2011, İsmail Aydos: SP avukatı ve milletvekili adayı, Mehmet Ali Bulut / Justice and Development Party Kahramanmaraş Deputy, Mümtaz Akıncı / President of Afyonkarahisar Bar Association / Member of Constitutional Court of the Republic of Turkey (Chosen by Turkish Parliament) and Zeyid Aslan /Justice and Development Party Tokat Deputy
Collective Memory Platform: Who are we?
The Collective Memory Platform, whose members consist of the families of the academics, intellectuals, journalists, and writers who were subject to brutal murders whose perpetrators have not been uncovered, are adamant that crimes against humanity cannot be subject to the statute of prescriptions.
The members of the platform will make an announcement in front of the Madimak Hotel in order to once again demand the removal of the murderers’ names from the plates in the entrance of the hotel.
The Collective Memory Platform has been initiated in 2009 by the 28 family of the victims of political assassinations whose proprietors have not been identified.
Collective Memory Platform
List of Member Families
Sabahattin Ali / Teacher / Novelist
Orhan Yavuz / Academician
Doğan Öz / Prosecuting Attorney
Necdet Bulut / Academician
Abdi İpekçi / Journalist / Editor in Chief (Milliyet)
Akın Özdemir / Academician
Cevat Yurdakul / Police Chief
Cavit Orhan Tütengil / Academician
Ümit Kaftancıoğlu / Radio Programmer, Story-Teller
Sevinç Özgüner / Doctor
Zeki Tekiner / Politician
İlhan Erdost / Publisher
Çetin Emeç / Journalist / Editor in Chief (Hürriyet)
Turan Dursun / Writer
Muammer Aksoy / Academician
Musa Anter / Journalist – Writer – Columnist
Uğur Mumcu / Investigative Journalist – Writer
Nesimi Çimen / Saz player – singer
Metin Altıok / Teacher – Poet
Behçet Aysan / Doctor – Poet
Onat Kutlar / Movie Critic, Researcher – Writer
Yasemin Cebenoyan / Archeologist
Yusuf Ekinci / Attorney
Hasan Ocak / Teacher, Lost and found dead in police custody
Metin Göktepe / Journalist
Necip Hablemitoğlu / Academician-Researcher
Hrant Dink / Journalist / Editor in Chief (Agos)
For detailed list of these names with their biographies: http://www.toplumsalbellekplatformu.com/default1.asp?l=tr&kid=3&lid=1
Website of Collective Memory Platform: http://www.toplumsalbellekplatformu.org
To contact us: firstname.lastname@example.org