Justice Ministry founds ‘Alevi council’ in line with gov’t action plan
ANKARATurkey’s Justice Ministry has founded a council to receive opinions from Alevi organizations upon the ruling party’s pre-election promises and post-election ‘action plan’ on “traditional wisdom centers and cemevis,” the state-run Anadolu Agency has reported.
The council, to operate as a working group on any issue related to Turkey’s Alevi citizens, was founded upon an order by Turkish Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ, a move that came less than two months after the announcement of comprehensive reform plans for the fulfillment of pre-election promises made by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).
The council, which will work under the deputy secretariat of the Justice Ministry to provide legal ground for issues related to Alevi citizens, is expected to conduct work in five stages by receiving opinions and recommendations from leading representatives of Alevi organizations as well as umbrella societies of the country’s Alevi community.
Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu outlined in late 2015 a set of comprehensive reform plans for the fulfillment of pre-election promises to different segments of society, particularly Alevis.
Providing legal status to cemevis, Alevi places of worship of community, was another announced promise of the Turkish premier, and a part of the action plan of the 64th government formed after the parliamentary election on Nov. 1, 2015. However, the head of Turkey’s Religious Affairs Directorate (Diyanet), Mehmet Görmez, stated earlier this year that granting legal status to cemevis was a red line for the Diyanet.
“Cemevis cannot be considered as alternatives to mosques... We cannot give a religious status to cemevis,” Görmez was quoted as saying by daily Milliyet on Jan. 2, an apparent step back for Ankara after the ruling party’s pledge to uphold the rights of Alevis, which make up some 15 percent of the country’s entire population.