31st anniversary of the Sivas Massacre (July 2)

Perpetrators must not get away with crimes – Germany must punish them

On the occasion of the anniversary of the massacre against the Alevi people in the Turkish city of Sivas, the Society for Threatened Peoples (STP) expresses solidarity with the Alevi people – once again demanding that the perpetrators must be held accountable. “July 2 marks the 31st anniversary of the massacre. Justice is still not in sight. In Turkey, perpetrators have repeatedly been pardoned in recent years – or their crimes were considered time-barred. However, there is no statute of limitations on crimes against humanity, so there is no statute of limitations on the Sivas Massacre either,” stated Tabea Giesecke, expert on ethnic, linguistic, and religious minorities at the Society for Threatened Peoples.

“There are perpetrators of the massacre living in Germany, trying to escape punishment this way. The German authorities must not let this happen. The German judiciary must hold the perpetrators accountable according to the principle of universal jurisdiction,” the human rights activist emphasized. 

On July 2, 1993, 35 people were killed by an angry Islamist mob, which had set the building of Hotel Madimak in Sivas, Central Anatolia, on fire. 33 of the victims were Alevis, two were employees of the hotel. Two of the perpetrators also died. During the fire, the hotel was surrounded by thousands of fanatics, many of whom shouted that it was hellfire burning the unbelievers. “Clearly, the aim of the Sivas Massacre was to wipe out part of the Alevi community. The perpetrators must not be safe from prosecution anywhere in the world. To this day, we mourn the victims of the massacre – and we will continue to fight for justice,” Giesecke stated.

There are around one million members of the Alevi minority living in Germany, and about 20 million in Turkey. Until today, Alevis in Turkey are suffering from discrimination, hatred, and persecution. “The fact that many perpetrators were released and pardoned clearly shows that the Turkish government and judiciary are not willing to protect the Alevi people. They even work against them,” Giesecke added.