The Sivas Massacre, an arson attack staged against mostly Alevi guests attending an event at Madımak Hotel that killed 33 intellectuals and two hotel personnel, was commemorated on its 27th anniversary on July 2 in the Central Anatolian province of Sivas.
Due to measures imposed for the novel coronavirus outbreak, this year’s commemoration ceremonies faced restrictions on the number of people that can attend the services.
The first ceremony in the city was held with the coordination of the governor’s office. Tapes were set within the memoir area in the former hotel and outside the hotel.
Sivas Governor Ayhan, Mayor Hilmi Bilgin, president of Cumhuriyet University Alim Yıldız, Cem Foundation head Döner, Police Chief Kenan Aydoğan and representatives from several representatives from non-governmental organizations attended the ceremony.
“This pain belongs to all our country. For 27 years, this sorrow did not polarize us; it unified us and strengthened our solidarity,” Governor Salih Ayhan said during a visit to the Madımak Hotel.
“The words Sivas and massacre are being used together. I want to say that the fact that this [massacre] is being blamed on millions of Sivas residents are creating discomfort,” Ayhan said.
In the meantime, Cem Foundation head Erdoğan Döner suggested that the Madımak Hotel should be turned into a “museum of humanity.”
“These are black marks against both our country and humanity. We know really well that the massacre in Madımak, Başbağlar, Çorum and Maraş were carried out by the same hands,” Döner said.
“I am saying this with permission from Mr. Governor, let’s make this into a museum of humanity. Let the people who will come here see the fraternity, love and tolerance of Sivas,” he added.
Politicians also commemorated the victims of Sivas massacre over Twitter. Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu also marked the massacre, offering his condolences to the killed.
“27 years ago today, we felt deep in our hearts what the polarization in the public led to,” Kılıçdaorğlu said in a tweet.
Meanwhile, opposition İYİ (Good) Party leader Meral Akşener also commemorated the massacre over Twitter, dubbing it as “the day in which minds were silenced, conscience was burned out and humanity dies.”
Hurriyet Daily News