Karina, the flower of Ashterhok in the massacre of Turkey

April 26, 16:02

the society

Duetenkom – Karina Thuigs. Her name is known in Turkey, forgotten in Holland. In 1993, student Doetinchem inadvertently ended up in a Turkish popular riot, which led to her death. Who is she and what is the cause of her death? Questions captured the throat of writer Mahmoud Ergyas. He sought answers and wrote a book: Karina Thuijs and the Sivas Massacre.

By Andre Falkmann

1993 I
Mademak Hotel, July 2, 1993. Outside, Karina Thuigs hears a crowd. People are screaming out of oboe. Thousands of Turks – mostly conservative Muslims and ultra-nationalists – are on their way to wander. Looking for people to find, when she was a young student (22) in cultural anthropology.

Visitors to the hotel are the free thinkers of Turkey and take part in a festival in Sivas. Many belong to the Alawi community. Movements within the Alawites consider themselves Muslims, but they have a liberal view of this faith. Therefore, they are considered a disgrace to Islam, say the rioters. The police keep them out, but for how long?

Karina (22 years old) is on the fourth floor with girls and women. The men have since moved to basements to be the first to fight if it comes to lynching. Then something happens that no one can count on. Rags soaked in gasoline are flying like torches lit on fire. The lights and power are off, smoke is everywhere. Will they survive this?

When you see the names of the 35 victims Mahmoud, everyone will notice one thing…
“Doe inchem As a city among all those Turkish cities. Karina was the only foreign dead. This makes it well known in Turkey, and unfortunately the Netherlands has forgotten about it. I hope my greeting book will be. Kareena is in danger of being forgotten, that’s not allowed.”

Why did you forget?
It was 1993. The Western focus was far from focusing on Islamic fundamentalist attacks. Nine and eleven minutes? It hasn’t happened yet. If it had been a disaster like nineteen years already, every Dutchman would have known it.”

Is there still suspense when searching for a story that has a terrible ending?
“Maybe it’s too crazy: but a lot. I made up how Karina ended up in that fate. The culmination of choices and coincidences. Oh, if you go here right or left, do you think… Example: I went to study cultural anthropology, B’s choice. It was the Academy of Fashion Her fervent wish. What if she had not been rejected there? Then perhaps she would not have gone to Turkey. She had to travel abroad for anthropology, and she chose Turkey.

Her elementary school days were fairly ordinary. Although there were quite a few tensions in her youth, which again serve as a sharpening stone for her sanity. Her mother is still married to her father, but she has feelings for a woman. You can see that she has become a critical and interesting person. Criticizes male-female relationships, and gender roles.

Her humanity persisted. She feigns against nuclear weapons as a student – and is still very young – supporting feminist views. She didn’t put it on the big clock, but she did paint, write poetry, and design costumes. So the girl who wanted to discover the culture of the world, that lust also brought her to Cephas.”

1993 II, before the attack with blazing breaches
Karina pulls out her Dutch-Turkish dictionary and frantically describes the papers. Girls she met through her host family ask for context.

They invited her to join the Bir Sultan Abdul Culture Festival, an event where democracy and human rights are central.

Why do they suddenly have to stay inside, what do these people want outside?

Click, someone shoots. Women standing with a chuckle and placing peace signs. This will be over in no time, and they will soon be back outside smiling again. One head turned away: eyes to the ceiling, face motionless. Karina…


The last photo where Kareena can be seen, before the women making peace signs. Photo: special

Did Kareena know the political tension she was in?
It was mainly social, not directly political. She was at a festival with a lot of Alawites, but had no special connection to this ethnic group. I guess that’s why she was the first to worry. Alawites are used to these tensions. In addition, of course, she did not fully understand the reassuring words of her fellow sufferers in the hotel, she spoke very basic Turkish.”

How do you always explain the tension that Kareena was in the middle of?
“I start with the role of the Alevis. By the way, whatever my parents and I are. Most of the victims of the attack were Alevi intellectuals and artists. A population group that has been subjected to violence within Turkey, along with the Kurds and Armenians. Why? It is severe, but I sometimes liken the tragic situation of the Jews in Europe. Sure it’s not quite the same, but I do it to make it understandable.

It is a disadvantaged group, and it was seen as inferior and discriminated against. For example, because they color the Islamic faith more freely. Cephas was a boiling point in this distinction which unfortunately did not stop after the massacre.”

1993 III
People running across the hotel. Is there any way out of these flames? Benches and chairs are pushed straight up and form long aisles. Through the corridors and stairs a fireless courtyard. A jump there, from any height, is a leap in life. Some visitors find this place in the smoky and gloomy darkness, they survive. 35 people don’t make it. Including Karina.

Do you know what happened to Karina in the last minutes of her life?
“So I came across the last picture of Kareena, with her serious look. I wanted the original and I wanted to talk to the lady sitting across from Kareena, if she was still alive… She had that picture and you probably know more. I found it, you can read that in the book “.

I understand that you want to save this passage for the book. That wasn’t the only picture. Her bag with notes was left behind.
“It is touching that she still writes in that hotel. ‘They must have Aziz Nesin’ … as she clearly indicated to her attackers: the Turkish fundamentalists, the Turkish extreme right. A clear analysis, from a young man, who probably knew it was now a matter of life or death “.

You say the government can expect an attack on this festival. I also specified that only a small group…
“… Police officers standing there… Why so few? Your question must be. The catalyst in the riots was Aziz Nesin’s arrival at the festival. What Karina wrote about. Free thinker Nesin wanted to translate The Satanic Verses into Turkish. This book, which Some considered it blasphemy, which was banned in Turkey at the time.Nesin provoked unprecedented outrage.There is clearly a higher risk of rioting, but no more security is ever provided.

This is what makes this disaster so talked about. Why didn’t the government intervene? Less than two miles away, for example, there were 6000 soldiers. All I say is guesswork, but I am inclined to theories that the massacre served certain elements of the Turkish state well.”

What was going on there?
Political Islam was on the rise, and they won many seats in the elections. The incumbent was terrified. Without being able to prove that people planned it, or orchestrated it, I can say that certain parts of the power in Turkey turn out to be fine… If they don’t thwart an attack by far-right Muslims, there will be grounds for that punishment after that group. “You see, it’s life threatening.” This massacre was also put to good political use. At the same time, it is frightening: a crowd of fundamentalists watched the fire with joy and enthusiasm. ”

In this thought, these people’s blood was shed for a political game.
“It’s a scary thought, I can’t say the attack was orchestrated, but I don’t dare rule it out either.”

You wrote a book about Karina, but you never visited her grave, I understand.
“That’s right. I’ll do it in July, after all the publicity. I’ve built a very good relationship with the family. I’m actually just putting my last point on her grave.”


Karina Thuigs. Photo: special

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