Record companies to boycott Alevi broadcaster over support of cemevi-mosque complex project
ISTANBUL - Radikal
The complex project was presented by İzzettin Doğan (2R), chairman of the Cem Foundation, during a press conference on Sept. 6. AA photoRecord companies owned by Alevis have announced a boycott of the broadcasters Cem TV and Cem Radyo, Turkey’s first media outlets owned by an Alevi foundation and promoting the Alevi identity, over their support of a controversial project to build a cemevi and a mosque side by side in Ankara.
The plan has stirred up debate as some major Alevi associations denounced it as an “assimilation project.”
The boycott initiative was headed by main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy Sabahat Akkiraz, who is also a renowned folk musician and owner of the Akkiraz record company.
“We are doing our part of the task according to the Alevis’ demands as politicians who represent them. We are reviewing our ties with the Cem Foundation. We will not allow them to use what we produce. It’s a strike against the Cem Foundation,” Akkiraz was quoted by daily Radikal Sept. 14.
“We will not give our support to projects in the style of cemevi-mosque [complexes] until the cemevi become legal,” she added.
The project was first proposed by the Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen on June, when he said via his website that “mosques and cemevis may be constructed side by side in some regions.”
On Sept. 1, scholar and Cem Foundation chairman İzzettin Doğan unveiled an initiative to construct in one complex in Ankara an Alevi cemevi, a Sunni mosque and a public soup kitchen, with financing from the Glen’s movement.
Record companies including Kalan and Arda Müzik have followed Akkiraz Müzik’s decision to boycott the Cem Foundation’s broadcasters.
“Who gives Doğan the authority [to support the project]? He can’t speak on behalf of Alevis. He shouldn’t, and it is also wrong that the state considers him as an interlocutor,” producer Hasan Saltık, owner of Kalan Müzik, told Radikal.
Several Alevi associations have already slammed the initiative, describing it as “an assimilation project, aiming to melt Alevism down within ‘moderate political Islam’,” in a statement released on Sept. 11.
Alevi associations including the Alevi Bektaşi Federation, the European Confederation of Alevi Associations, the Pir Sultan Abdal Culture Associations, the Şahkulu Sultan Foundation, the Hubyar Sultan Alevi Culture Association and the Association to Revive Hacıbektaş were among its signatories.