Turkish government backs Çiçek over cemevi at Parliament
ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç has lent strong support to Parliamentary Speaker Cemil Çiçek, who rejected a request for an Alevi house of worship to be established on the Parliament’s premises on the grounds that “Alevism is not a separate religion.”
“The majority of Alevis do not consider Alevism to be a different religion and live according to that belief. We’d better look at the teaching in Islam that considers Alevism as having been within the Islamic religion for centuries, rather than a deputy’s words,” Arınç said yesterday in Ankara, while responding to reporters’ questions on the issue. Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy Hüseyin Aygün applied to the Parliamentary Speaker’s Office May 7 for a cemevi to be established in the Parliament. In his refusal of the request Çiçek said the house of worship for Islam was the mosque and added “Alevism is not a separate religion.”
Urging confidence in what the Diyanet stated on the issue, Arınç also recalled that the Diyanet was among the very first institutions to be established by the founder of the Turkish Republic, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. During the Atatürk era, the head of the Diyanet was put in the first five places within the protocol list, Arınç said. “Don’t worry that now it is in 52nd place. God willing, with the new protocol arrangement, the importance attributed by Atatürk to the head of the Diyanet will be established again,” Arınç said.