Turkey: Victims of massacre commemorated
Victims of the Sivas Massacre were commemorated on the 29th anniversary of the incident in the city of Sivas, Turkey.
33 people, visiting the city to attend the Pir Sultan Abdal festival, organised by Alevi organisations, were killed on 2 July 1993 in an attack by a large mob of thousands who set fire to the Madimak Hotel, causing the victims trapped inside to die in the fire.
The targets of the attack were representatives of Alevi communities and intellectuals, including writer Aziz Nesin.
Among Alevi poets and musicians who were killed in the fire were Hasret Gültekin, Metin Altıok, Asım Bezirci, Behçet Aysan, Nesimi Çimen and Muhlis Akarsu.
Hundreds of people gathered on Saturday in front of the Madimak Hotel for the commemoration, carrying photographs of the victims and banners that read, 'Do not forget Sivas', 'Justice for Sivas', 'The light of Sivas will not fade'.
Representatives of various Alevi organisations, deputies of the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) and the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) took part in the commemoration.
After a moment of silence, as the chair of the Pir Sultan Abdal Culture Association (PSAKD) was making an address to the crowd, a group of supporters of the far right Nationalist Movement party (MHP) began to verbally harass the crowd and throw insults while the police chose not to intervene, according to a report by PIRHA.
Cuma Erçe, the chair of PSAKD, said in his address:
"The people who do not confront their past are doomed to perish. We are perishing today, even as all kinds of massacres are being committed around us. If we do not confront our past, we won't be able to escape the dark."