Birthday of Caliph Ali to be celebrated by government for first time since 1980
Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmuş has said the government will hold an official ceremony in Ankara to mark the birthday of Caliph Ali, 27 years after the last time it was celebrated with the Alevi community of Turkey.
“God willing, we will carry out the celebration on March 21, which is the birthday of the Caliph Ali, and which has not been celebrated since the 1980 coup d’état as it was banned. This will be a ceremony as such that our Alevi brothers will have renewed peace with the state,” Kurtulmuş said Feb. 26.
Speaking during a visit to a cemevi, the Alevi place of worship, in the Çiğli district of the western province of İzmir, Kurtulmuş praised the work carried out there under the leadership of notable public figures of the Alevi sect and recalled the centuries-long solidarity among Sunnis and Alevis on Ottoman lands.
Kurtulmuş also underlined the role of Alevi shrines in the unity and order of the Ottoman army, as well as in societal solidarity and unity.
“There is a need for these kinds of shrines where our Alevi brothers can teach their beliefs, traditions and their own path. With this way, we should prevent our young generations from heading down paths that are non-aligned with belief, and also prevent them from pursuing trends, thoughts and ideologies that may end the unity of the country. Therefore, your efforts here are beyond some courses and educational activities. These kinds of activities have a very great importance especially at time when Turkey needs societal unity,” said Kurtulmuş.
Alevis are widely seen to practice a liberal form of Islam.