Alevi groups eschew iftar with President Gül, opt for Anti-Capitalist Muslims
President Abdullah Gül. DHA photoAn Alevi association has announced plans to reject an offer from President Abdullah Gül to attend an iftar at Istanbul’s five-star Polat Renaissance Hotel in favor of breaking the fast with the Anti-Capitalist Muslims group.
The Central Office of Alevi Cultural Associations and the Hubyar Sultan Association said brotherhood between Alevis and the government could not be secured only at iftar tables, noting that Alevi citizens’ problems and requests have been ignored by the government for years.
While important government figures were playing “brotherhood” at five star hotels, the groups have decided to share the table with the Anti-Capitalist Muslims, who share Alevis’ sorrow and recognize the community as it is, rather than attempting to define the group.
“We believe brotherhood cannot be secured merely by eating and drinking at a table in an environment where cemevis are still not counted as houses of worship, compulsory Sunni education is continued for Alevi children, children are forced to choose elective Sunni religion classes, Alevi houses of worship, especially the Hacı Bektaş Dervish lodge, which was extorted by the government, have not been given back to Alevis and the Madımak Hotel has been converted into a memorial house where the murderers’ names are also found instead of [being converted into] an exemplary museum condemning the [1993 Sivas] massacre,” the foundation said in a statement yesterday.
“Alevis don’t have equal rights in all fields as should be in a democratic country, and the government does not cease defining and describing faiths, their prayers and houses of worship,” the statement said.
“We don’t believe that brotherhood can be secured at a dinner table while all these requests by Alevis have been ignored and the prime minister governing the country is trying to impose on us a definition of Alevism on one side and a ‘perfect Alevi’ definition on the other,” they said.
The groups also highlighted their stance against the government’s decision to name the third Bosphorus bridge after Yavuz Sultan Selim, even though Alevis say the 16th-century Ottoman sultan killed at least 40,000 of their community.