Alevi Bektaşi Federation Chairman Selahattin Özel slammed the government’s politics on Turkey’s Alevi people while 4 municipalities affiliated with the opposition party in the western province of Izmir officially recognized cemevis as temples.
The recognition decision was taken upon an European Court of Human Right (ECHR) ruling on the recognition of cemevis as temples. 4 municipal assemblies (Karşıyaka, Konak, Karabağlar and Bornova) admitted a proposal to recognize cemevi - prayer space for Alevis - as temples and allocate municipal funds accordingly.
“I see this recognition as a positive move,” Alevi Bektaşi Federation Chairman Özel said. “However, the government is resisting on the matter. I hope Republican People’s Party-affiliated municipalities will take their decisions into practice.”
He also claimed that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan didn’t want to do this in order to keep the country polarized.
“However,” Özel continued, “whoever realizes the change, president or prime minister, will be a historical leader.”
Özel also reminded the fact that ECHR rulings regarding the removal of compulsory religion classes and religion section on IDs didn’t apply in Turkey.
Recognition approved with AKP member
While the recognition decision were mostly taken on majority votes, ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) affiliated assembly member Ersin Güngör also voted in favor of recognition in Karşıyaka municipality.
“The non-recognition of cemevis as temples hurt our Alevi citizens deeply. We must separate religion and politics from each other. If you don’t let these cultures and faiths free, you can’t call this advanced democracy,” Karşıyaka Mayor Hüseyin Mutlu Akpınar said.
Avcılar and other CHP municipalities?
Following the move in Izmir, Istanbul’s CHP-affiliated Avcılar Municipality also took the matter into its agenda of its latest meeting.
Previously, CHP Vice Chairman Veli Ağbaba made a statement informing that CHP-affiliated municipalities will take action in February to recognize cemevis as official temples. (BY/AS/EKN/BM)
* Click here to read the article in Turkish.
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