Alevi federation condemns Turkey for inaction on Sivas massacre

German Alevi Associations Federation (AABF) lawyer Mahmut Erdem has condemned Turkey for its failure to request the extradition of nine suspects in the 1993 Sivas massacre targeting Turkey’s Alevi community.

Turkey has made no extradition request for the suspects who are known to be living in Germany, Artı Gerçek quoted Erdem as saying, citing German officials.

On July 2, 1993, a mob of Islamic fundamentalists burned a hotel in Turkey’s central province of Sivas where a convention was being held, killing 37 people, mainly intellectuals and artists from the Alevi faith.

“German authorities have said Turkey has not made an extradition request for Murat Sonkur despite knowing his whereabouts since 2017,” he said, referring to the main suspect in the massacre.

“We have no expectation from the Turkish justice system,’’ Erdem said, adding, “There should be no statute of limitation in crimes against humanity.’’

“We have no expectations from the Turkish justice system. Let alone trying those suspects in regional courts in Germany, these people should be tried in the International Criminal Court.”

Erdem said if Turkey truly wishes to catch the perpetrators of the Sivas massacre and shed light to the incident then it needs to provide the required information to the German courts or request the extradition of the perpetrators.

“As Alevis, we demand that the lawyers who closely follow the Sivas massacre share the information they have in international courts,” Erdem said, adding, “Those who commit crimes against humanity must be tried and punished.”

Alevism is the second most widely held belief in Turkey following Sunni Islam. They follow a branch of Islam that combines Shi’ite, Sufi, and Sunni traditions, but Alevis are not recognised as Muslims by many groups in Turkey due to their secular beliefs and acceptance of drinking alcohol, among other practices.