Executives and representatives of Alevi associations in Turkey have submitted a legal complaint against the head of Turkey’s Directorate of Religious Affairs (Diyanet) for his recent remarks on not seeing cemevis, the Alevi places of worship, as equal to mosques.
Alevi Bektaşi Federation head Baki Düzgün said remarks by Diyanet head Mehmet Görmez “once against showed the Diyanet’s discriminative and hateful stance against Alevis.”
Alevis have been praying at cemevis for hundreds of years, he said on Jan. 7, while speaking to members of the press in front of an Ankara courthouse. “Alevis do not see it as an alternative to mosques. All places of warship are sacred for us but our worship places are cemevis,” he said.
Granting legal status to cemevis was a “red line” for Diyanet, Görmez said on Jan. 2, as quoted by daily Milliyet. Görmez also reportedly stated that “cemevis cannot be considered an alternative to mosques.”
“We cannot give religious status to cemevis,” Görmez said, in a step back for Ankara after the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) recent pledge to grant legal status to cemevis.