Turkish PM calls Alevi cemevi a 'freak'
Recep Tayyip Erdogan. AA photo
An Alevi cemevi standing next to a cemetery in Istanbul is a "freak," according to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
"That cemevi was built there as a freak, and still remains an illegal building – it has no license," Erdoğan said during an interview broadcast on the private A Haber channel yesterday in response to a question about the status of Alevi cemevis in Turkey.
The prime minister said the cemevi was built using tombstones from Üsküdar’s Karacaahment cemetery during his term as Istanbul mayor between 1994 and 1998.
Erdoğan said he intervened after 106 tombstones were removed, telling the Alevi association leader responsible for the construction to halt their operations.
"I proposed 46 other locations in Istanbul for them where they could build a cemevi, just so that they would not damage the cemetery. I told them it was a historic place," Erdoğan said.
"I told them I would not issue a permit for their building and would tear it down [if they built it next to the cemetery]," Erdoğan said. The building, however, was completed and reportedly remains an unlicensed building.