Zilan River was filled with CorpsesThere other eye witnesses who survived the massacre. Here is what another one says:
Right after this massacre, the semi official newspaper of the state, Cumhuriyet daily, in its 16 July 1930 issue reported the massacre of Zîlan as below:
‘The villages of Agri that joined the bandits have been burned down and their residents were sent to Erciş. The number of bandits destroyed during the Zilan operation is over 15 thousand. The number of those who fell before a battalion and died is guessed to be over one thousand. Five brigands who made it to Zilan River surrendered. The war in this place has been very fierce. The Zilan river has filled up with corpses.’
Faik Bulut’s book titled ‘Kurdish Uprisings in Turkey’ which included some documents from the Archive of War History has also included the [Turkish] General Staff’s order dated 01 July 1930. The General Staff orders ‘All of the villages in the region of uprising that have participated in the uprising shall be completely burned down.’
Also, the General Staff’s order on 03 July 1930 says this: ‘… To show the people who rise up will be punished, the villages that participated in the Oramar events and the clans in the meadow must be identified and bombed with the air force.’
These documents [included in Faik Bulut’s book] further state that ‘On 02 July 1930 the following activities occured: Kaymaz, Haçan, Kölesor, Çilli ve Osmanlı villages were bombed by airplanes; the villages in the Patnos region that joined the uprising were subjected to machine gun fire and bombings.
According to the government of the time ‘The actions [by state officials and forces] in the uprising cannot be considered as criminal’. The region was a 'fire at will’ zone. The law number 1850 on 20 July 1931 approved this:
Item 1: During the uprising in Erciş, Zilan, Ağrı mountain regions and following that due to the tracking and punishment operations in the jurisdiction of First Public Controller and in Erzincan’s Pülümür town, from 20 June 1930 to 1 December 1930, any individual or group actions of the military forces, government employees, and anyone who acts with or for them, including watchmen, paramilitary [korucular], and regular citizens, related to getting rid of the uprising and events associated with it are not criminal.
Item 2: This law is in effect on the day of its publishing.
Item 3: The representatives of judiciary and internal matters are charged with the implementation of this law.
After the massacre, the Zilan River was declared a military zone closed to the public. After a while, a Government Farm was started there. Later, immigrants from Afghanistan, Turkmen, were brought and settled in the region. There are still villages in the region whose inhabitants are completely Turkmen.
The Zilan River is one of the most painful episodes of the painful struggle of Kurds. Thousands of people, from swaddled babies to old people were killed.
We believe that those who think they can finish Kurds by killing them have been wrong. Those who committed massacres after Zilan River, in Halepçe [Halabja], Qamişlo, Dersim, Lice, and other places and times, could not finish the Kurds’ struggle for freedom. Kurds, because of their struggle for freedom, have faced these massacres and paid heavy prices. Without a doubt, the sacrifices made by the Kurdish people will not be in vain and this people, in the end, will gain their freedom.
İdris ERTAŞ - Tarihe Kazınmış Belgeler; Soykırımlar-III /
Ahmet Kahraman - Kürt İsyanları -
Tedip Ve Tenkil-
M. Remzi Bucak - Bir Kürt Aydınından İsmet İnönü'ye Mektup
Sıddık Güler - Dicle Haber Ajansı
Mehmet Ali Aslan - Kürt Trajedisi
I think İsmet İnönü gave the orderWhat kind of brotherhood is this?
Kakil Erdem, who is currently 94 and lives in Kündük village, was 17 years old at the time of the massacre. He is one of the few witnesses who survived. He goes on:
“The soldiers were stabbing pregnant women and cutting their babies out. I watched them behead people. They skinned heads of three of my relatives before my eyes. I saw them beating two brothers to death with wood.”
Erdem says when the massacre started, he ran towards the mountains and watched the events from where he hid. “Thousands of soldiers from the 7th Army Corps came to the villages. They surrounded the 72 villages in Zilan. They killed everyone in these villages; men, women, old, young, children, babies, everyone was killed. İbrahim Bey and Derviş Bey were commanding the unit. As they were killing people, we had to run and hide. Some people hid in the wheat fields and beneath their things. Then we all escaped to the mountains. We stayed hungry for days. We went back to the village after the soldiers left. They had killed 35 relatives of mine. I watched them beheading many people. My oldest brother is alive, he saw these too.”
Erdem responds to some allegations which say that the government of the time did not know about the events: “I think İsmet İnönü gave the order. Derviş Bey is father of Alparslan Türkeş. As I think of them, I get chills. I never forgot that massacre. They killed those they captured. Most of the people who died in this massacre were those who fought [side by side with Turks] in the war of independence. They had fought for this country. I did my military service in Sarıkamış. The people we fought together against the enemy later came and killed us.”