Parliament speaker hails Alevis for protecting Turkish culture
'Our Alevi citizens have been the most effective element in the survival of Turkish culture from the past to [the present] day,' Çiçek said.Parliament Speaker Cemil Çiçek has felt an apparent need to underline the contribution played by the Alevis community in protecting Turkish culture, stating that Alevis have played a “historical” role in this process.
Çiçek, in an interview with the state-run Anadolu Agency on Aug. 11, focused on a certain detachment among society from authentic Turkish culture.
“In this regard, in Turkey, our Alevi citizens have been the most effective element in the survival of Turkish culture from the past to [the present] day. If there was no Alevism, Turkish culture would have been gone long ago. They have fulfilled such a historical and important mission,” Çiçek told Anadolu Agency, while underlining the authenticity of the language used by Alevi folk singers as well as its poets.
Çiçek’s comments came at a time when a recent presidential election campaign was marked with debates on President-elect, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s use of language based on religious and sectarian lines.
During his speeches, Erdoğan has consistently reminded the nation’s populace that he is a “Sunni.”
His comments triggered accusations of sectarianism, but Erdoğan argued that no one should hesitate to unveil his identity.
“Let everyone say what he is. An Alevi citizen can come to me and say, ‘I am Alevi,’ without any problem. Why is it considered discriminatory when Sunnis say ‘I am Sunni.’ Kurds could not say so for years. Can’t my Kurdish brothers now say, ‘I am a Kurd?’ If so let the Turks say, ‘I am a Turk,’” Erdoğan said.