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The massacre Turkey hopes Alevis will forget

The government is obstructing memorial observances for the 1978 anti-Alevi massacre in Maras, hoping it will be forgotten.
Alevi demonstrators shout anti-goverment slogans during a protest against the latest violence in Okmeydani, a working-class district in the center of the city, in Istanbul May 25, 2014. Two people died last week after clashes between Turkish police and protesters in Okmeydani, a working-class district of Istanbul, stirring fears of further unrest as the anniversary of last year's anti-government demonstrations approaches. Okmeydani is home to a community of Alevis, a religious minority in mainly Sunni Musli
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Tragedies from Turkey's recent past are returning to the agenda like a recurring nightmare. One such disaster that cannot be swept away is the massacre at Maras, a southeast city from which almost 80% of its Alevi residents were forced to flee to major cities and abroad. The more the state tries to forget such incidents, the more interest they arouse.

This year a major observance was planned to commemorate the Maras killings, but the government brought in 2,200 police and gendarmes from neighboring cities to try to prevent people from accessing Maras. Those who came in buses were not allowed to enter the city. Those who managed to get in individually organized a small observance. The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), which profusely discusses the Dersim massacres, for which it blames the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), cannot tolerate even the mention of incidents like Maras, which implicate nationalists and conservatives.

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