Alevi organizations hold rally in Istanbul, demand secular education and judicial independence

Alevi organizations in Turkey held a rally in Istanbul’s Kadıköy district, demanding a decent life, secular education and judicial independence in the country. The rally saw the participation of HEDEP co-chair, and CHP and HEDEP deputies.

Can Bursalı / Gazete Duvar

Alevi organizations in Turkey on Dec. 10 held a “Democratic Turkey Rally” in Istanbul’s Kadıköy district.

The rally saw the participation of pro-Kurdish Peoples' Equality and Democracy Party (HEDEP) co-chair Tülay Hatimoğulları, CHP and HEDEP deputies, Workers’ Party of Turkey (TİP) party organization, and other party and organization members. CHP leader Özgür Özel and TİP leader Erkan Baş sent messages to the rally.

The rally demanded a decent life, secular education and judicial independence in the country.

Alevi - Bektashi Federation head Mustafa Arslan said “In this period where Turkish-type sharia is being implemented day by day, the republic is valuable for us Alevis. This country is ours. We will not leave this country to racists, monists and bigots.”

Arslan stated that they wanted to transform Turkey into a country where everyone could live and express their belief and opinion freely in their own language, and said they demand “a secular, scientific education in the native langugae.”

“As if it wasn't enough that they steal our taxes, they are also interfering in our (private life). We will not allow this,” Arslan said, referring to the regulations threatening secular lifestyle.

Alevis make up an estimated 15-25 percent of Turkey’s population, the second main religious group after Sunni Islam. Despite the fundamental differences in religious practices between the two groups, the Turkish government to-date refuses to acknowledge Alevi cemevi as the legitimate place of worship and to grant cemevis the same financial support as mosques. Instead, Turkey claims that cemevi is a cultural entity.

(English version by Alperen Şen)