09 January, 2011

GLADIO ERGENEKON Turkey deep state clean-up

Maras massacre
Horrible events broke out in Turkey's southern province of
Kahramanmaras, formerly Maras, 30 years ago. The violent
incidents started on Dec. 19, 1978 and could only be stopped by
Dec. 26.

In these incidents, which came to be referred to as the Maras
massacre -- forming a major milestone in the run-up to the
military coup of Sept. 12, 1980, 111 Alevis died and thousands
were wounded, according to official figures. Given the extent of
the incidents, one can suggest that the real figures must be much

The Maras massacre has a very special place in Turkish history,
which is rife with provocations. In fact, the Maras massacre
shares similar characteristics with many previous provocations.
The incidents were sparked by the bombing of a movie theater
frequented by nationalists. As was the case with the Sept. 6-7,
1955 incidents, it was later found that the bomber was actually a
nationalist who had ties to the deep state. Again, as seen in the
incidents of Sept. 6-7, the houses of Alevis were marked ahead of
the massacre. Two Alevi teachers were killed. The incidents
started during the funeral ceremony of these teachers. The
funeral was attacked by a large crowd of nationalists who were
provoked by rumors that Alevis had burned down mosques and killed
Sunnis. The ensuing massacre that occurred in Alevi neighborhoods
was so horrible that it can leave humans at a loss for words.

Just as it has not confronted or challenged any other massacre,
Turkey did not confront or challenge the Maras massacre. It was
not even possible to commemorate the Maras massacre until the
recent commemoration ceremony held a few days ago in Maras during
which very thought-provoking incidents happened. I will discuss
this ceremony in my article on Friday.

There is not the slightest of doubt about the involvement of the
Turkish deep state, or the Turkish Gladio, which was the
precursor to today's Ergenekon, in the Maras incidents of 1978.
But if we tend to treat such incidents only with respect to their
political repercussions and put all the blame on the deep state,
without trying to understand the psychological moods of the
people who played a role in such massacres, does this take us
anywhere? Why are people in Turkey so easily manipulated in such
provocations? Why do we so readily forget these incidents? As I
will try to explain in the sequel to this article, nothing is
forgotten, but our failure to confront and discuss such massacres
only allows the pro-massacre spirit to continue to live in

The details of the massacre in Maras cannot be squeezed into this
article. It would certainly be better if several documentaries be
shot or novels or textbooks be written about this tragic incident
so that we never forget about them and that history never repeats
itself. Novelist Inci Aral has treated the Maras incidents in her
storybook "Kiran Resimleri" (Pictures of Destruction). Her
descriptions of how she was able to write those stories amply
indicate the horrifying effect of the incidents themselves. Let
us read how Aral decided to write her storybook on the Maras
massacre (see Orhan Tu:leylioglu, "Maras Katliami"):
"For three days, the city was truly a battlefield and was on
fire. ... According to official figures, 111 people were killed
by shooting, cutting or burning. Shops, houses and people's
residential sanctuaries were attacked; women were raped; abdomens
of pregnant women were cut and fetuses were nailed to trees. The
breasts of young girls were mutilated and placed on sticks and
put on display. ... Images published by papers and broadcast on
TV were unbearable for anyone with a human conscience. ... For
months I could not get rid of those memories and the horror of
the incidents. ... I had considered going to Kahramanmaras and
making on-the-spot observations about the incidents, and the
following words of a friend of mine from Maras reaffirmed my
intention: `Maras is still a bleeding wound. ... Why don't you
consider writing about those incidents?'

"One night, I got on the bus and went to Maras. ... Those who
survived the incidents had returned to their villages after the
incidents. The next day, they started to take me from one village
to another, sometimes with a motorcycle and sometimes on a horse
carriage -- and sometimes on extremely packed minibuses, for 10
days. They treated me as their guest in their poor houses. ...
They incessantly talked about the massacre and violence that
befell them. Never before had I seen such entrenched poverty,
helplessness and sincerity. Finding myself in a different world
and among the people whom I only knew to exist by hearsay was
touching. There I learned the beauty of the human heart and
warmth of my people.

"When I returned to Ankara, I could not speak for a month. I then
obtained the minutes of hearings [Author's note: She is referring
to a lawsuit brought in connection with the massacre and which
proved unproductive] from the joint attorneys and read the
witness testimonies, which were stuffed into 40 dossiers. As I
read through the minutes in tears, I came to believe what the
villagers had told me about the massacre. On that day my migraine

"For one year I thought about how to narrate this violence. ... I
was not a journalist but a writer. I might tell an intense or
harsh story, but it must fall within the limits of literature and
be permanent. In the early 1980s I started to work on `Kiran
Resimleri' with the first story, `Elif.' I was only able to write
one story per month because I could not get over it any quicker.
... I completed the book a year later. ...
"`Kiran Resimleri' is a bold initiative for me and a watershed of
my 35 years of authorship. This small book speaks from the
perspective of a writer how people who had been living together
for centuries and who had been neighbors and who had intermarried
could in only a couple of days be turned into enemies who would
kill each other."

Now read what Aral wrote, and in particular her last paragraph,
from the perspective of the 1915 Armenian massacre, the 1934
Jewish pogroms, the Sept. 6-7, 1955 incidents and many other
bloody events in Turkey's past. You will see that Turkish history
repeats itself. And this will continue if we don't confront the

Bookmark and Share
posted by u2r2h at Sunday, January 09, 2011


Post a Comment

<< Home

Locations of visitors to this page Politics Blogs - Blog Top Sites