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The Başbağlar massacre (Turkish language: Başbağlar Katliamı) is the name given to the 5 July 1993 event in which 33 Turkish civilians were killed and the village of Başbağlar near Erzincan burnt down. The attack was attributed to the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK). Some journalists and politicians have argued that both incidents were part of a "strategy of tension" that was part of an alleged military coup in 1993.


The incident took place at the village of Başbağlar, near Kemaliye in Erzincan Province, when approximately 100 heavily armed militants rampaged through the village, dragging all the civilians to the village square and burning their homes and property.

After an hour of propaganda session dozens of men from the village were killed in front of their families. The militants then moved onto setting the whole village on fire. 214 homes, the school, the mosque and the community center were burnt down.[1]

33 civilians were killed (the same number as the number of Alevis killed in the Sivas massacre three days earlier), and the perpetrators left a note claiming "This was retaliation for the Sivas Massacre."[2]


20 people were arrested in relation to this massacre, 18 of which were released while 2 were imprisoned and later sentenced to life imprisonment on charges of membership in the PKK.[3]

Responsibility for the Başbağlar massacre was ascribed to the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), but a parliamentary commission concluded that the same shadowy deep state forces responsible for the Sivas massacre three days earlier had carried out the attack. The case was dropped in 1998, and remained unsolved in 2013.[2][4]


  1. "Başbağlar da 15 yıldır adalet bekliyor", Haber10, July 6, 2008. URL access date: July 7, 2008.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Today's Zaman, 5 July 2013, Başbağlar, Madımak masterminded by same group
  3. "Başbağlar'da geç gelen adalet" (Late justice at Başbağlar), Radikal, October 24, 1998. URL access date: July 7, 2008.
  4. Zaman, 5 July 2009, Başbağlar katliamında şehit olanlar fotoğraflarla anıldı

Coordinates: 39°15′03″N 38°55′16″E / 39.25080°N 38.92110°E / 39.25080; 38.92110

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