The Alevi Bektashi Federation (ABF) has announced that a commemorative event will take place at the Zincirlikuyu graveyard in Istanbul today (2 July).
The graveyard of Asım Bezirci, a writer and critic, who was one of the victims of the Sivas massacre, will be visited.
Later, there will be a commemorative event at the Karacaahmet graveyard in Üsküdar, Istanbul, where Nesimi Çimen, an Alevi bard, is buried.
37 killed by fire and smoke
They are only two of 37 people who died when the Madimak Hotel in Sivas was set fire to on 2 July 1993. A mob of tens of thousands surrounded the hotel and also tried to prevent people from escaping the fire.
Security forces at the time have been accused of standing by and watching the murders.
There will be a rally at Kadıköy pier in Istanbul at 6 pm today.
Events in Ankara, Sivas and Izmir
In Ankara, commemorative events started at the weekend, and continue today with a rally in Koley Square. There will be panels and other activities until 6 July.
In Sivas, people from all over Turkey will gather in front of the Madimak Hotel at noon, the time when the massacre took place.
In Izmir, there will be a rally in the Gündoğdu Square at 4 pm.
In a shared call for participation, the ABF and the European Alevi Union Confederation (AABK) said, "We will march in front of Madimak for the 16th time, because we want to meet this country's conscience, which can say no to murders, denigration, contempt and disregard.
"Face the past"
Alper Taş, chair of the Freedom and Solidarity Party (ÖDP), spoke in Sivas, saying: "Let us insist on facing the past so that we can create a more beautiful future and a country where we can all be happy. Let us get rid of this dark stain on Sivas, which has been and will be our city. We can succeed in this together."
The Labour Party (EMEP) criticised the rapprochement of the government with the Alevis as "insincere" and called for the demands of Alevis to be accepted: "The murders, spilt blood and tears of Maraş, Çorum, Sivas, Gazi and other mass attacks need to be accounted for. The social peace that is being talked about can be achieved by lifting the discrimination against Alevis and other beliefs."
"Reactionary attitudes continue"
Erkan Baş, chair of the Turkey Communist Party (TKP), said: "The reactionary attitude, of which we saw the most brutal and barbarian example 16 years ago, has increased its influence in the last 16 years and continues to pull our country into darkness."
The Confederation of Trade Unions of Revolutionary Workers (DİSK) announced that its president, Süleyman Çelebi, would be participating in the gathering in Sivas.
Change in mindset needed
The Turkey Union of Architects and Engineers (TMMOB) said that it would not be enough to turn the hotel into a museum and to commemorate the victims. Rather, the mindset that created such murders needed to be expunged.
Ali Ekber Çakar of the Chamber of Mechanical Engineers said that the only way to prevent reactionary forces from gaining the upper hand was to apply true laicism.
Celalettin Can from the 78'ers Initiative also called for "real laicism and a real democracy." He added, "Madımak is proof that this fire can turn and burn everyone in a country where there is no laicism or democracy."
Ufuk Uras, independent MP, demanded an end to discrimination against Alevis and dialogue with Alevi organisations. (EÜ/AG)
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