If anything, the actions of the military drove the people of Munzur to sympathize with the PKK more than they ever had before, or otherwise would have. The destruction of so many villages and the burning of the forests was seen as simply barbaric. Today, many people view the PKK – which still operates in Dersim, even after all that transpired – as an essential counterbalance to the Turkish army, ready to defend the rights of all Kurds, not just those who are Sunni. 


The Dersim Massacre and the Evacuation of 1994 have undoubtedly contributed to the exceptional degree of political awareness and activism that permeates this isolated, marginalized region. The majority of people in Munzur favor Communist parties, and the town of Ovacik elected Turkey's first-ever Communist mayor in March, 2014. Locals sense a direct link between Communist economic theory and the core ethos of the Alevi religion - in which caring for other people and sharing what one has with others are among the greatest of goods. As residents of the Munzur Valley have no desire to live under the intrusive, dictatorial apparatus of a stereotypical Communist state, they strive for a form of Communism that remains democratic at heart, in which all religions are equally tolerated, rather than equally forbidden. They simply want a system that does away with what they regard as the institutionalized economic exploitation of the lower classes, and ends the promotion of Sunni Islam by the Turkish government under the ruling AK Party. 


Writer's note: Though it makes sense that Alevis would favor Communism as a model of wealth-sharing that their religion preaches, we are puzzled by the fact that during the time when Dersim was essentially autonomous - hence ruled by Alevis - the tribal system in place was more reminiscent of feudalism - with a few very rich and powerful lords and many peasants.