Directorate Of Religious Affairs [Diyanet] Shuts The Door To Alevi Cemevis

PM Erdogan: "I had said I would embrace everybody!"

Turkish Alevi associations and federations who have struggled for many years for the recognition of their houses of worship [cemevi] and for the allocation of state funds from Diyanet budget received a negative response on Wednesday from the Head of Diyanet, Prof. Ali Bardakoglu. Bardakoglu said, “The cemevi is not an alternate place of worship to the mosque. It is wrong to present cemevis as an alternative to mosques, as this will turn Alevism into an independent religion and will lead to the alienation of Alevis, a majority of whom see mosques as their places of worship, from Islam.”

In response to a parliamentary inquiry submitted by the DSP MP Suleyman Yagiz about the government’s recent initiatives toward Alevis, Bardakoglu elaborated on the perspective of his directorate toward cemevis. Bardakoglu suggested that mosques are the exclusive places of worship in Islam and said,“Throughout the history of Islam, no Islamic sect or order has proposed a place of worship as an alternative to the mosque. This request is contradictory to the essence and historical experience of Alevism and has the potential to foment separatism among Muslims and further reinforce this division”. Yagiz said that this demonstrates that the AKP government decided against Alevi demands, against EU harmonization process, and proved the government’s insincerity in its initiative towards Alevis.

It is estimated that there are about 15 million Alevis in Turkey, who are pressured by the Sunni establishment. Anatolian Alevism is representative of Sufism and the most tolerant and modern version of Islam.

Source: Zaman, Cumhuriyet, Turkey, April 10-11, 2008



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