The ruling AKP submits bill to 'address' concerns of Alevis

The ruling AKP has submitted the bill aimed to “address” the concerns of Alevis to the Parliament. The bill includes providing the electricity and water expenses of the cemevis (an Alevi house of worship).

Duvar English

Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) on Oct. 20 submitted the bill to “address” the concerns of the Alevi community to the Parliament, including providing the electricity and water expenses of the cemevis (an Alevi house of worship). 

Accordingly, the Culture and Tourism Ministry will cover the lighting expenses of cemevis, and the municipalities will provide water to cemevis at a discounted or free price.

The bill includes other proposals like providing need and support for the construction, maintenance and repair of Alevi buildings.

Two weeks ago, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced that the Presidency of Culture and Cemevi (“Cemevi Başkanlığı”) will be founded under the Culture and Tourism Ministry. The move came following several attacks on Alevi buildings.

Several Alevi institutions have slammed the government over its plan to establish a state body, saying it is an attempt “to seize Alevi institutionalization and religiousness.” They said the proposal does not address their concerns at all.

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.