Türkİye

Victims of PKK terror group's massacre in eastern Türkiye village still in grief

PKK terrorists stormed Basbaglar village in Erzincan province in 1993, killing 33 civilians brutally, 5 of whom were burned alive

Kemal Ozdemir and Selami Kucukoglu   | 04.07.2022
Victims of PKK terror group's massacre in eastern Türkiye village still in grief

ERZINCAN, Türkiye

Ali Akpinar has been unable to erase the traces of the painful barbaric incident that occurred 29 years ago on July 5, when a group of approximately 100 PKK terrorists stormed his village in Türkiye's eastern Erzincan province and massacred 33 innocent civilians, five of whom were burned alive.

"That night, they burned five people alive in their homes, massacring 33 people in total,” recalled Akpinar, a mukhtar or local elder of Basbaglar village who survived the horrible tragedy, which still saddens him.

“During the massacre, I and two others from the village survived despite serious bullet injuries,” he told Anadolu Agency, adding that hundreds of bullet shells were scattered where the terrorists carried out the massacre.

On July 5, 1993, PKK terrorists raided Basbaglar village, located 220 kilometers (136 miles) from the city center. They gathered all of the village’s women at a nearby stream and set fire to their houses after stealing valuables.

Five people who challenged the terrorists were pushed into burning houses and killed.

Terrorists gathered 28 men who had left the mosque after offering prayers in the village center and executed them by firing squad.

The scars of the Basbaglar carnage linger in the memories of those who survived or witnessed the barbaric terrorist attack.

Every year on July 5, the victims are remembered in the village with a ceremony.

"We are now commemorating the 29th anniversary. We pray that no more massacres like the Basbaglar occur," Akpinar said while hoping that "no more tears be shed.”

“We are not seeking revenge or anything else. We only want justice,” he remarked.

Mehmet Kaya, who was 12 at the time of the tragedy and escaped the PKK terrorists' onslaught unharmed, told Anadolu Agency that his grandfather, uncle, and brother-in-law were "martyred" in the attack.

"When I returned home in the village from the upland, I suddenly encountered a terrorist group," Kaya reckoned of his encounter with the terrorists.

“They stopped us and questioned as to who owned this place. Yahya, who was standing next to me, spoke first of Allah, then of the state, and finally of ours,” he added.

"Thereupon, the terrorists said this is ours from now on, and that we will establish a Kurdistan state here… you will not join the army again and you will not let your children attend schools.”

The terrorists gathered children and women along a stream. Everyone started to scream, and he recalled the terrorists setting all houses and vehicles on fire after stealing valuables.

"We all remained there until the morning. Then I went to a cemetery where they were all massacred. I found the bullet-riddled bodies of my grandfather, uncle, and a number of other victims," he said.

The purpose of the massacre was to plant seeds of hatred within the Turkish community but it was vehemently rejected by them, he said.

"We have not forgotten about the Basbaglar… We will not make it be forgotten," he added.

Serif Gul, a villager who returned home after the massacre, said they bore their pain without complaining, but they never forget what happened.​​​​​​​

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