Erdoğan vows to investigate anti-Alevi incidents in Izmir

Turkish security forces have been investigating provocations against Alevi people in Turkey’s third most populous province, Izmir, and will soon arrest those responsible, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Thursday.

The police launched an investigation after unknown people drew red crosses on the doors of houses belonging to Alevis and wrote discriminatory messages on the walls of the buildings in a neighbourhood Izmir’s Gaziemir district.

The Alevi community makes up an estimated 12 percent of the population in Turkey, making Alevis the largest religious group following Sunni Muslims. There have been frequent cases of harassment against Alevis in which red crosses are painted on the doors of their homes.

“Some marks have been left on the doors of some houses. The aim is to divide our country,” Erdoğan said during a speech in Ankara. “Our security forces are working to find those who put those marks on the doors. They will be held to account when they are arrested,” he said. 

The president said that Turkey had witnessed similar acts during the massacres against the Alevi population in the late 1970s.