The Rojava Report

News from the Revolution in Rojava and Wider Kurdistan

Turkey’s Military Destroying Cemeteries, Mosques, And Alevi Houses of Worship In Kurdistan


Turkish soldiers are attacking and defacing cemeteries and Alevi houses of worship (cemevi) in ongoing operations in North Kurdistan, reports an article from DIHA carried in Özgür Gündem.

Following three days of military operations in Dersim images have emerged of attacks carried out by the Turkish soldiers on the Suna Çiçek (Besê) ve Dr. Baran Martyrs” Cemetery. These images belie claims made by the governor of Dersim province that “no harm was done to the cemetery in the course of the operation. The images show the destroyed graves and the bombed out remains of an Alevi house of worship (cemevi) constructed next to the cemetery, which was also boobytrapped with mines laid by Turkish soldiers.

The road leading to the cemetery was likewise damaged with large craters created by explosives impeding access. Graffiti also appeared throughout the valelley such as “T.C” (Turkish Republic) and “JÖH” (Gendarmerie Special Forces). Buildings outside the cemetery were also damaged as were the graves of people killed in the 1938 Dersim massacre, also perpetuated by the Turkish state, with glass displays being smashed open and the bones of the victims scattered around the ground.

Turkish forces also attacked and largely destroyed the Martyr Amed and Martyr Hêvîdar cemetery in the Lîcê district of Diyarbakir (Amed) province. The attacks destroyed 50 graves, a nearby mosque, ablution fountain, a two-story conference hall and martyrs’ museum. Ruined prayer rugs as well as damaged copies of the holy Qurans were recovered from the wreckage.


In Dersim Hasan Genç spoke in the name of local Alevi leaders (pir) who gathered to protest the Turkish state’s attacks. Genç told those gathers that “in the same way that for a certain period Karbala became a symbol against the attacks of Yazid  Dersim must be a castle of resistance against these fascist attacks. We are calling on the entire Alevi community, all people of conscience and in particular the people of Dersim, which as our ancestors have said is the home to the 336 saints (evliya), to stand up against this savagery.” Following his statement the Alevi leaders walked to the cemetery . Metin Alparslan, a local villager who witnessed the destruction of the cemevi, told reporters “there was a cemevi here. It was where our people worshiped. There were graves here, they have been destroyed. The state has come to such a position that it cannot even tolerate our dead.”

They Even Burned Qurans

In Licê 54-year old Rindiye Kocakaya spoke in horror at the state’s attack on the cemetery and mosque, asking “would a human being do such a thing? Erdoğan claims to speak of Islam. Is this Islam? They burned and destroyed everything in the mosque. They even burned the holy Qurans. Would a human burn down a house of God? There is nothing left to say.”

Another local’ 75 year-old Ahmet Cura, reacted to official claims that no cemeteries were touched in the operations, saying “they burned down and destroyed the mosques and are saying we didn’t touch any cemeteries. If you place dynamite there and detonate it everything will be affected.”

86-year old  Mehmet Şerif Aksoy claimed that he had never seen such oppression, asking “what do they with our mosques? They say they are Muslims but those who are Muslims would not accept such attacks. It is the first time that we are seeing them attack our cemeteries and mosques. If Erdoğan had been a Muslim he would not attack mosques and cemeteries.


2 comments on “Turkey’s Military Destroying Cemeteries, Mosques, And Alevi Houses of Worship In Kurdistan

  1. Pingback: Turkish State Fascism And The Kurdish Revolution | The Rojava Report

  2. Pingback: A very brief and very remote review of recent damage and destruction of cultural property in south-eastern Turkey | conflict antiquities

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This entry was posted on October 21, 2015 by in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , .

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