River Flowing Red, Turkish Soldier Confess Dersim Genocide

Entire river was flowing red. After 79 years, Turkish soldiers confesses about how Turkish state committed genocide against Kurdish people in 1937-1938 in Dêrsim, northern part of Kurdistan (southeastern Turkey). In 1938, 80 000 Kurdish people were massacred by Turkish state in Dersîm province of southeastern Turkey. It was sociologist Ismail Beşikçi who started to shed some light on one of the “forgotten Genocides” of Turkey. In 1990 he published a book in Turkey that by its very title accused Turkey’s single-party regime of the 1930s of having committed genocide in the Kurdish district of Dersim. The book was immediately banned and did not generate the debate its author intended. As author and academic Martin Van Bruinessen recalls “Beşikçi was the first, and for a long time the only, Turkish intellectual to publicly criticise Turkey’s official ideology and policies regarding the Kurds, beginning with his 1969 study of the socioeconomic conditions of eastern Turkey through a whole series of increasingly polemical works.” Ismail Beşikçi paid a heavy price for his moral and intellectual courage; all his books were banned, and he spent more than ten years in prison for writing them.

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