Demand to have Alevi on ID turns into vicious circle
İZMİR – Doğan News Agency
DHA PhotoA man in the western province of İzmir has applied to the Constitutional Court after his religious designation on his identity card was not changed to “Alevi” despite a decision of the European Court of Human Rights.
Alevi citizen Sinan Işık initially pursued domestic legal avenues to change the religion section on his ID card from “Muslim” to “Alevi” in 2004.
Turkey’s Religious Affairs Directorate, however, argued in court that Alevism was “a sect, not a religion,” leading the court to reject Işık’s request.
After losing an appeal at the Supreme Court of Appeals, Işık took his case in 2005 to the European court, which ruled that not only was the lack of an option for Alevis a violation of human rights, the very existence of a “religion” category on mandatory government identity cards was itself a violation of fundamental human rights.
The Turkish state has failed to implement the European court’s ruling and Işık’s card still reads “Muslim.”
Işık filed a complaint against Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the main opposition party leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu for failing to implement the ECHR decision. However, the public prosecutor decided not to open a case.
Finally, Işık applied to the Constitutional Court complaining about the failure to change his religion stated on his ID.
“The last option is the Constitutional Court. I don’t understand how the decisions are being avoided. I applied from İzmir and am waiting for the decision,” said Işık.
Following the ECHR decision, a change in regulation was made and those who file a petition to the birth registration office will now be able to leave the religion box in the ID card empty.