Demir Çelik, the head of the Democratic Alevi Foundation (FEDA) told Fırat news that the Turkish government wanted to use the situation in the aftermath of the two earthquakes that hit Turkey’s south on Monday to push the Alevi population to other metropolitan cities and to end their culture by imposing the Sunni belief.
The two major earthquakes on Monday rocked 10 provinces of Turkey, which are home to a significant Alevi population of Kurdish and Arabic descent. People in Turkey who follow the Alevi religion have faced massacres and discrimination since the foundation of the Turkish republic and have been further neglected during the 20-year rule of the Islamist Justice and Development Party (AKP).
The epicentre of Monday’s tremors was Pazarcık and Elbistan district of Kahramanmaraş, which are Alevi populated. The Turkish government is using the destruction caused by the earthquakes to push the Alevis from the region to metropolitan areas in the west, Çelik said, adding that political discrimination is visible in the government institutions’ relief efforts.
“The Turkish nation-state has not approached the disaster in a humanitarian, conscientious and moral way. It has approached it by taking into account the ethnic identities, political preferences and the beliefs of the people living in provinces districts and villages,” Çelik said.
“The state and its institutions were not only absent in the first two days but also has tried to prevent the solidarity and the aids of our people and to confiscate humanitarian aid being sent,” he added.
The government also plans to control this population by the state of emergency declared in those 10 provinces on Tuesday, according to Çelik.
In addition to that, the government wants to repress the opposition rising among the people against itself, to postpone the elections by using the state of emergency as a justification, and to use military power to change people’s mind and to affect their political preferences, he said.