Attack on Kurdish
Alevi Family in
Turkey Draws Protests, Condemnation
July 31, 2012
MALATYA/ISTANBUL, — Mobs attacked a
Kurdish Alevi (Alevi) family, stoned their house and
torched their barn in the eastern province of
Malatya over the weekend after family members
objected to a traditional street drummer who wakes
up the faithful for their pre-dawn ritual meal in
the month of Ramadan. The incident that took place
in Sürgü in Malatya's Doğanşehir district has drawn
condemnations and protests from Alevi organizations
and the opposition People's Republican Party's (CHP)
Malatya deputy Veli Ağbaba.
Some 50-60 people first initiated the attack on
Saturday night, after family members asked the
drummer to beat his drum further away from their
house, while another 400-500 people then showed up
again on Sunday night and started marching toward
their house, according Servet Evli, one of the
family members. Security forces then dispersed the
mobs by shooting in the air.
Members of the Evli family said they were attacked
because they were Kurds and Alevis, while they also
sent their youngest child to their relatives' keep
in the neighboring province of Adıyaman as a
CHP deputy Ağbaba: "The
attack is organized"
CHP deputy Veli Ağbaba arrived in the province to
examine the scene of the incident and told bianet
that the drummer had told the locals about the
family's request for him not to beat his drum next
to their house. Mobs then stoned their home and
torched their barn while chanting slogans for about
three hours, he added.
The incident goes beyond the work of a few incensed
citizens, according to Ağbaba who said the attack
was organized. They were still working on the matter
and would subsquently release a report on it, he
"Burn it to the ground"
"The Evli family warns the drummer, as they had a
sick [person] in the house, and ask him not to play
in front of their door. The drummer, however, again
goes before their door the next night and plays even
louder in an exagerrated manner. Then a quarrel
ensues between the drummer and the family, and when
the drummer relates the incident to the locals in
overblown fashion, a certain group goes over and
stones their house without paying any attention [to
details,]" said Mahmut Nedim Yılmaz, the head of the
Malatya branch of the Alevi Culture Associations.
Yılmaz added that he thought the incident was
spontaneous and not an organized affair, unlike CHP
"It is quite difficult to restrain these people.
Unfortunately, there are people who respond by
saying 'let us burn it to the ground' when someone
urges them," he said.
Yılmaz further added that he thought it was wrong
for the mayor to tell the Evli family to move out of
the area as he himself could not restrain the
Protest ensues in Taksim
Meanwhile, a group of some 200 demonstrators
gathered in Istanbul's Taksim Square at around 00:30
on Monday to protest the incident upon the urging of
"The assailants want the Alevis to move out of that
[place.] They are wrong. Alevis will not leave off
to anywhere from the [areas] they reside in...
Despite efforts to portray the incident as a small,
simple and isolated case, that is not true, and the
incident is organized. The culprits are taking heart
from the government; that is cyrstal clear. As
Alevis, we are not going to permit another massacre
in this country again... We are going to be on the
streets until the safety of the people in Sürgü is
ensured. The gendarmerie disperses thousands who
arrive to commemorate their [loved ones] who died in
the Sivas [massacre,] but they cannot disperse 500
people and uphold security. That gives us a pause,"
Vedat Kara from the Hacı Bektaşi Veli Association
said while reading a statement on behalf of the
Hasan Evli: "Are we at
fault for being Kurdish and Alevi?"
Hasan Evli, 65, spoke to the daily Malatya Yenigün
and said they had been living in Sürgü for 40 years
and making their livelihood through planting
"Are we at fault for being Kurdish and Alevi? Is
that our cardinal sin? Gendarmerie commanders have
been telling us for three days that it is necessary
for us to move elsewhere," Evli said.
"They harassed us in particular for [the past] two
days by chanting 'tekbir' (A Muslim prayer that
begins with the phrase "Allahu aqbar") before our
home with people coming from outside. They said they
would torch our house. They are insistently telling
us to move out. Where are we to go? The assailants
tried to bring down our house with big weapons,
rocks and sticks," he said, adding they had not even
been allowed to water their tobacco field for three
"The drummer swore at the
Kurds and Alevis"
Servet Evli said the incident broke out after his
sister told the drummer that she was fasting but
that no one else in their home was observing the
fast. She then asked him not to play his drums
around their house for long, but the drummer Mustafa
Efşi consequently mocked her and said he would also
read her a ballad if he were to come the next day,
according to Servet Evli.
"My father verbally intervened [in the conversation]
with drummer Mustafa Efşi. The drummer then audibly
began swearing at both Kurds and Alevis. He yelled
'if our drums bother you, then leave here. Go to
whichever country admits you. This is a Muslim
country. I will come here tomorrow and play with
five drums,'" he said.
The assailants first sang the National Anthem, then
started stoning their home while chanting the "tekbir,"
yelled "Death to the Kurds," "Death to Alevis" and
"Burn them all," according to Servet Evli.
They also opened fire on the house and attempted to
break in by smashing the fence, the doors and the
windows, he said.
By Ahmet Saymad - BIA News Center
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