The Maraş Massacre or the Maraş Events, the massacre of Alevis that took place between 19 December and 26 December 1978 in Kahramanmaraş. According to official figures, 120 people were killed during the seven days of incidents. Over 200 houses belonging to Alevis were burned, nearly 100 workplaces were destroyed. At the end of the trials that lasted for 23 years, 22 people were executed, 7 people were sentenced to life imprisonment, and 321 people were sentenced to 1-24 years. 68 people who played an important role in the massacre could not be reached. It is accepted as one of the events that caused the September 12 coup. According to the National Intelligence Organization, the “Turkish-Kurdish issue” was also a factor in the start of the events.
At a time when the Alevi-Sunni separation, fueled by political reasons, escalated in Kahramanmaraş, on December 19, at Çiçek Cinema, one of the rare nationalist films of that period, Cüneyt Arkın’s leading role, will be screened at 21: The explosive throwing at 00 was the beginning of the events. Large right-wing groups have a group of idealistic blood from Turkoglu district Aqsa Victory of Islam and Muslim Turkey slogans audience the exciting Republican People’s Party provincial center, post office and all the teachers Mergers and Solidarity Association (TOB-DER) attacked the building. Immediately after the explosion of the bomb, Ökkeş Kenger, who allegedly dropped the bomb on the instructions of the Ülkücü Youth Association Kahramanmaraş branch head Mehmet Leblebici and the second chairman Mustafa Kanlıdere, telephoned the Ülkücü Gençlik Derneği for help.
The next day, a coffee house was bombed in the Yörüksim District, where Alevis densely lived. As a result of the bombing, the residents of the neighborhood, who were in the coffeehouse, lay on the ground. Luckily, the bomb hit the concrete under the coffee shop window and did not enter the coffeehouse. As a result of the incident, a neighborhood citizen named Gıjgın Dede passed away. At noon on December 21, two left-wing Alevi teachers, Hacı Çolak and Mustafa Yüzbaşıoğlu, lost their lives as a result of an armed attack. Tahsin Soylu, the then governor of Kahramanmaraş,  asked for a military force to be sent to the city, but his request was not found appropriate. On December 22, a right-wing group in the mosque where the funerals of the teachers were brought, objected and prevented the funeral prayers of the deceased from being performed. The right-wing group, who did not encounter the intervention of the security forces, walked to the city market and clashed with the Alevis and Sunnis who had gathered there. Three people were killed in the clashes.
On December 24, when the attacks were directed against the police forces, all police in the city were dismissed in order to prevent clashes between the police and the public. The Sunni people took advantage of this and increased their pressure on Alevis. People were enraged, the situation got out of control, and an atmosphere of chaos was experienced throughout the province. Military units were sent from Kayseri and Gaziantep in order to prevent the mutual attacks that lasted for days.
When the Maraş events broke out, CHP was in power and Bülent Ecevit became the prime minister. After the incident, CHP’s interior minister, İrfan Özaydınlı, said in his statement that the cause of the events was leftist organizations, and received a great reaction from his party. Later, he was forced to resign from the interior ministry and Hasan Fehmi Güneş was replaced. Bülent Ecevit reported that the events were brought out by counter-guerrillas to force him into the demand for martial law, which he had resisted for a long time.
Due to the events, a declaration of martial law came to the agenda in many provinces, including the provinces surrounding the borders such as Diyarbakır, İzmir, Syria-Iran-Iraq, and from December 26, 1978 at 7.00, Istanbul, Ankara, Kahramanmaraş, Adana, Elazığ, Bingöl, Erzurum, Erzincan Martial law was declared in 13 provinces including Gaziantep, Kars, Malatya, Sivas and Şanlıurfa. Later, the number of these provinces was increased.
As a result of the attacks, 150 people were killed, 176 people were injured, and over 200 houses belonging to Alevis were burned, according to official data. Nearly 100 workplaces were destroyed. According to unofficial statements, the death toll is close to 500. It is not known exactly where the burial place of the victims who were buried in the Sheikh Adil Cemetery was and whether a religious ceremony was held at the time of burial.
The lawsuits opened in martial law courts continued until 1991, and a total of 804 people, who were mostly right-wing and far-right, were prosecuted. Among the defendants, 29 people were sentenced to death, 7 to life imprisonment, and 321 to 1 to 24 years of imprisonment. A penalty reduction of 1/6 was applied and their sentences were reduced, except for the death penalty and life imprisonment. The decision of the strict administration court was reversed by the Supreme Court, and the death penalty was not imposed as a result of the retrial. [Citation needed]
The lawyers involved in the massacre, Ceyhun Can, were killed on September 10, 1979, Halil Sıtkı Güllüoğlu on February 3, 1980, and Ahmet Colonel on May 3, 1980.
The sentences of those who were sentenced were suspended due to the Anti-Terror Law enacted in 1991 and were later released. Some of these people later joined the Turkish Grand National Assembly as deputies.