PM Erdogan’s Advisor Resigns For Discrimination Against Alevis

AKP MP Reha Camuroglu, the architect of AKP’s post-election policy towards Turkey’s 15-million-strong Alevi community confirmed today his resignation from his position as PM’s advisor, saying that AKP did not keep any of its promises to Alevis.

Alevis are the second largest religious community in Turkey and their liberal and tolerant interpretation of Islam differs from Sunnis’. Their places of worship are ‘cemevi’ and not mosques. Long discriminated by the Sunni establishment, they demand to be recognized as a distinct faith, to be granted equal treatment with the Sunnis, and to have freedom of religion.

In his resignation letter to PM Erdogan, Reha Camuroglu wrote, “We wanted discrimination against Alevis to end. Did it? How many Alevis have high level positions in the bureaucracy or are among the governors? Is there just one Alevi governor? What about any police commissioners? During the AKP’s six-year rule, how many Alevi investors have won tenders? Probably none!"

Yesterday, the President of Alevi-Bektashi Federation Ali Balkiz called the AKP government to obey and implement the rulings of both the Turkish High Administrative Court [Danistay] and the European Court for Human Rights [ECHR] on the issue of compulsory classes of religion in Turkish schools that teach Sunni Islam only – and asked for them to be abolished. He accused the government of violating the freedom of religion of Alevi students, of forced assimilation of Alevis and missionary work carried out by the government.

Source: Hurriyet, Turkey, June 11-12, 2008

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