HDP deputy protests efforts to build mosque in Alevi village in Sivas

Pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) deputy Ali Kenanoğlu has protested efforts to build a mosque in a majority-Alevi village in Turkey's Central Anatolian province of Sivas. Originally a mansion, the deed to the old property was taken over from the local neighborhood head's office by the mufti, Kenanoğlu said.

The village of Şarkışla is seen in this file photo.

Duvar English

A deputy from pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) has protested efforts to convert an ancient mansion into a mosque in the majority-Alevi village of Şarkışla in the Central Anatolian province of Sivas. 

Speaking on a broadcast for Yol TV on Dec. 3, HDP Deputy Ali Kenanoğlu noted that the mansion in question was initially allocated by the local monuments' committee as a cemevi, a place of worship for the Alevi faith.

"This place was certified as a cemevi. The Şarkışla Mufti's Office appealed that ruling six months later, and the Monuments Directorate decided that it become a mosque."

While the construct is recorded as Akbaşoğlu Mansion in city records, the property officially belongs to the office of the neighborhood head (muhtar), the deputy said. 

The mufti's office, a local religious authority that reports to the Directorate of Religious Affairs (Diyanet), reportedly took over the property's deed from the muhtar in their attempts to convert the construct into a mosque. 

"The villagers protested, they looked into legal measures they can take," the deputy noted. 

Kenanoğlu said that there's no evidence of the building being used as a mosque, but that the mufti's office is imposing the idea.

"When assimilation is the goal, it's enough that there are claims [the building] was a mosque."

The deputy said he would support locals' fight against the construction legally and politically.