AKP MP’s Comparison Of Turkey’s Alevis With Satanists Creates Controversy

During yesterday’s discussions in Turkish parliamentary Committee on Planning and Appropriations about the budget for Diyanet (the Directorate of Religious Affairs), Alevi demands to receive religious services from Diyanet budget were evaluated. Speaking at the committee meeting the AKP MP Mustafa Ozbayrak opposed the idea and said that there were attempts being made to portray Alevism as a separate religion. He said, “Alevism is a branch of Shia. If we appropriate funds to them, tomorrow other groups such as the Satanists will come with similar demands”.

CHP MP Gurol Ergin who spoke later said that equating over 10 million Alevis with Satanists was a grave mistake. He said, “If Diyanet has a state budget to provide religious services, Alevis should also have a right to their share in that budget.”

CHP’s Mustafa Ozyurek said that Diyanet is providing services for Sunni alone. He said, “The financial assistance it gives to Sunni houses of warship, must be accorded to the Alevi’s cemevi (Alevi house of worship) as well”.

Source: All mainstream Turkish media outlets, November 1, 2007

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