Syriac MP Tuma Çelik calls for justice for the victims of 1993 Sivas Alevi Massacre

ANKARA / SIVAS – On the occasion of the 28th anniversary of the Sivas Alevi Massacre, independent Syriac Member of Turkish Parliament Tuma Çelik issued a statement criticizing the fact that 28 years after the massacre, the murderers have still not been brought to justice and Turkish authorities have not been able to clarify the violent events of July 2, 1993. On that day, 35 Alevi intellectuals, writers, poets, and artists were burned alive after a mob set fire to the Madimak Hotel in the city of Sivas, Turkey, where the victims were gathered to participate in an Alevi cultural event in honor of Pir Sultan Abdal.

In his statement Çelik states that 28 years have passed since the massacre, which occurred clearly in front of everyone, and “to this day, Alevis have seen repression against them and their places of worship. A continuous process of injustice.” The Sivas massacre goes against all values of humanity and democracy and has kept the country away from equal life and coexistence. “Mercy be on the people who lost their lives in the painful attack that occurred in Sivas,” he concluded.

Historically, Alevis have suffered from national extremism and religious discrimination from within broader Turkish society. Alevis and their places of worship are repeatedly target of intimidation and attacks because of their distinct culture and different beliefs.

Each year on the anniversary of the massacre, demonstrators in Turkey hold protests and vigils to commemorate the victims of the fire. After the massacre, Alevi social organizations demanded that the Madimak Hotel be turned into a memorial. However, this demand has not been followed up to this day.