Rival commemorations will be held in the Central Anatolian province of Sivas today for 35 people who were killed in a 1993 arson attack on a hotel that was hosting an Alevi festival, private broadcaster NTV reported.
The Sivas Governor’s Office, city municipality and some nongovernmental organizations will stage a ceremony in the Sivas’ Madýmak Hotel, which has been turned a science and culture center despite Alevi demands that it become a museum.
The other ceremony will feature Alevi groups, political parties and unions. The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) and other leftist parties are expected to attend the commemoration.
Some 2,000 police officers have been dispatched to the city for the events, while some streets were closed for ceremonies.
In past years, the governor’s office has banned commemorations of the massacre in front of the hotel, leading to clashes between protesters and police. While commemorations are being permitted in front of the Madýmak this year, only relatives of those killed and officials who organized the official ceremony will be permitted inside the building.
Some 33 intellectuals and two hotel workers died when radical Islamists attacked the Madýmak on July 2, 1993. Two assailants also died while attacking the hotel.