Cemevis neither equal nor the opposite of mosques: Turkish Deputy PM
Cemevis, the Alevi worship houses, are neither the equal nor the opposite of mosques, Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdağ has stated. AA photo
Cemevis, the Alevi worship houses, are neither the equal nor the opposite of mosques, Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdağ has stated, amid controversy over a newly launched construction project placing the two side by side on Sept. 9.
"The cemevi is ours, so is the mosque. Both are included in this civilization. They are the assurances and symbols of our people’s solidarity and peace. However, one thing should not be forgotten: The cemevi is not the opposite of the mosque. The cemevi and the mosque are not the alternatives of each other, either. The mosque and the cemevi are not equivalent either,” Bozdağ said, speaking on private broadcaster A Haber.
He also denied allegations that the project was part of “assimilation” policies against Alevis. “The project including the cemevi and mosque in the same concept and being carried out in Mamak is not a state-run project. I want to underline this particularly. If it was a state-run project, it would be said that ‘The state is imposing this, forcing this. The state is forcing us into a monotype project, ‘assimilation and all.’ It could be right then. However, this is not the case,” he said, adding that two private initiative groups were carrying out the project and had the right to do so in accordance with the law.
Bozdağ also argued that the construction was not actually opposed by Alevi citizens, rather by “very different groups,” when reminded of the protests that have been ongoing for the past few days in Tuzluçayır, which have been met with heavy police interventions. Protests intensified on Sept 8, with the police using pressurized water and tear gas against protesters.
The deputy prime minister said there were some groups trying “to manifest their broken-down, left-wing ideas as representing the Alevi sect, or people perceiving Alevis as belonging to a different religion.”