Are Alevis under threat in Turkey?
In the Turkish province of Malatya red crosses have been sprayed on the houses of members of the country's Alevi community in recent weeks. Such incidents have provoked fear among the Alevi because similar incidents occurred before anti-Alevi pogroms in Turkey in the past. But not all Turkish media believe the crosses represent a threat.
All just provocation
Although the police has confirmed the marking of Alevis' homes with crosses, the pro-government daily Star still believes the whole affair is a lie:
“We keep hearing news stories about the houses of Alevis being marked with paint. ... The efforts to spread these lies are driven by a sole intention: to prepare the Alevis for a civil war. 'Your houses are being marked; you will be massacred together with your children; the country is ruled by a dictator who won't grant you the right to live.' They want to spread this way of thinking in all circles. They want to use this little spark to drive the people onto the streets and trigger a 'revolution', as was already the case with the Gezi protests provoked by the West.”
Incident must not be trivialised
It would be a dangerous mistake to play down the threat posed by the incident, columnist Sevilay Yilman, himself an Alevi, writes in Habertürk:
“The incident is without doubt a provocation, that much we can agree on. But I do not agree with those who see it as harmless! ... I'm sorry, but those who do have never experienced first hand the consequences such incidents have had in the past in Malatya. We have, and we know that this can't simply be shrugged off. This is a repeat of the pre-1980 provocations, and they won't be eliminated until those responsible are tracked down.”