Thursday, November 26, 2009

Kurdish Institute Paris tackles Dersim history


By Wladimir van Wilgenburg

Utrecht - The Kurdish Institute in Paris organizes a conference on the history of Dersim (Tunceli) upcoming Friday. Experts will discuss the massacres in Dersim (1936-1938), a historical period that is now fiercely discussed in Turkey after statements of a member of the Turkish oppositio

The conference will take place from 9.30 until 18.00pm in the Salle Victor Hugo. The conference will focus itself on the ideological background, if it’s a genocide, political violence and on the collective memories of Dersim (Tunceli).

Participants are genocide expert Dr. Ugur Umit Ungor, researcher Hovsep Hayreni, historian Mehmet Bayrak, researcher Sêvê Evîn Çîçek, Dr. Hans Lukas Kieser, Dr. Ali Murat Irat of the Alevi Institute, researcher Erdogan Aydin, researcher Mete Tekin, Dr. Ali Kiliç, Dr. Bilgin Ayata of the John Hopkins University, USA, Prof. Dr. Mithat Sancar of the Law University Ankara, documentary maker , Dr. Marie Le Rey, deputy Serafettin Halis from Tunceli.

The event will be closed by a statement of the famous sociologist Dr. Ismail Besikçi from Turkey, who was in the past imprisoned for his work in Turkey and a speech by Kendal Nezan, chairman of the Kurdish Institute in Paris.

The history of Dersim was fiercely discussed in Turkey, after remarks of Onur Öymen, the second man of the Kemalist Republican People’s Party (CHP) praising violent suppression of the Dersim Revolt of 1937-38. According to Hurriyet columnist Mustafa Akyol, the statement resulted in Turkey reflecting on the Kemalist era.

Ertuğrul Özkök, the editor-in-chief of daily Hürriyet, wrote that ‘Turkey has tremendously benefited from Öymen’s unfortunate remarks over the Dersim revolt. Even I didn’t know enough about the Dersim incident, but I have learned now’.

© Rudaw