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Başbağlar massacre

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The Başbağlar massacre (Turkish: Başbağlar Katliamı) is the name given to the 5 July 1993 event in which 33 civilians were killed, and the village of Başbağlar near Erzincan burnt down. Ex-special forces soldier Ayhan Çarkin claimed that the deep state was behind the massacre. The attack was attributed to the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK). Some journalists and politicians have argued that both incidents were part of a "strategy of tension" that was part of an alleged military coup in 1993.

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Background

The small village of Başbağlar is located 220 kilometers from the city of Erzincan in the eastern Anatolian province of Erzincan's Kemaliye district.

Incident

Turkish authorities claimed that approximately 100 heavily armed militants rampaged through the village, dragged all the civilians to the village square and burned their homes and property. After an hour of propaganda session dozens of men from the village were killed in front of their families. The militants then moved on to setting the whole village on fire. 214 homes, the school, the mosque and the community center were burnt down.

The Başbağlar massacre is considered one of the bloodiest mass killings in the history of the PKK. The massacre, in which those killed were Sunnis, is believed to have been in retaliation for the Sivas massacre.

Investigation

Nearly twenty people were allegedly arrested as part of the investigation, in which two people were jailed and sentenced to life imprisonment for being members of the PKK. Turkish authorities claimed that although the PKK apparently claimed responsibility for the attack, during interrogations, jailed PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan said that he had been unaware of the incident. In 1998 the case was closed.

Ex-special forces soldier Ayhan Çarkin claimed that the deep state was behind the massacre.

Reactions

On 5 July 2010, the Turkish minister Faruk Çelik visited Başbağlar to commemorate the day, he said: "No matter how many years pass after this incident, we will never forget this sorrow and those who caused it.”

References

Başbağlar massacre Wikipedia


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