Öker: No one should assume a bluff

Turgut Öker, honorary chairman of the Alevi Federation of Europe, assumes that Sedat Peker's statement about a planned attack on an Alevi community center cannot be dismissed out of hand.

In Turkey, the revelations of mafia boss Sedat Peker continue to be discussed. Peker not only publishes videos with statements about the involvement between the state and organized crime, he also uses the short message service Twitter. The focus is on former police chief and Interior Minister Mehmet Ağar and current Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu. One of the Peker tweets talks about a possible attack on Alevis like the pogrom in Istanbul's Gazi district that killed 22 people 26 years ago. A similar attack is being planned on an Alevi place of worship (Cemevi), Peker tweeted.

Turgut Öker, honorary chairman of the Alevi Federation of Europe and former HDP deputy, spoke to ANF on the issue. He assumes that there could be some truth to Peker's claim. "If the country's history were not full of massacres, Peker's accounts could be seen as a portrayal of a person seeking social approval. However, there have been many massacres against Alevis in our recent history. Therefore, Peker's statements are not particularly surprising," Turgut Öker said.

Not because of Peker's statements, but because of the general atmosphere in Turkey, the safety of Alevis is in question, he said. "For the past two years or so, we have been talking about completely different things when we meet as Alevi associations and representatives. We have certain demands, such as the abolition of compulsory religious education and equal rights, but now is not the time to address these demands. For us, the priority in the meantime is to ensure the safety of Alevis."

"The state mindset cannot be voted out"

Öker continued: "Whenever the state is in distress, a massacre of Alevis takes place. We have already witnessed this when the foundation was laid for the fascism of September 12 [1980, military coup]. The junta was installed with the massacres in Malatya, Sivas, Maraş and Çorum. Today, the situation is not very different." The government is incapable of running the country, he said, and there is increasing internal conflict. "The state has always murdered Alevis when it was in trouble. No one can guarantee that this will not happen again in the current situation. Today, many people say that who makes these statements must be taken into account. It is true, Sedat Peker is part of these structures, he was a godfather, but that does not mean that the perpetrators of the massacres he refers to are not true. We know about the massacres in which the names he mentions are involved. Even if the massacre mentioned does not take place, we know that the mindset that has conquered the state will not disappear with elections. Even if an attack on a Cemevi does not happen overnight, it should not be assumed that it is a bluff. All democratic forces must show solidarity and organize accordingly."