State to cover lighting costs of churches, synagogues
ISTANBUL- Hürriyet Daily News
The Religious Affairs Directorate will pay the lighting costs of churches and synagogues. DAILY NEWS photoTurkey’s Directorate of Religious Affairs has initiated a plan to meet the lighting costs of churches and synagogues in 16 districts around Istanbul.
Istanbul Provincial Deputy Mufti Abdurrahman Binbir confirmed the plans to the Hürriyet Daily News but did not elaborate further on the matter. Mesrop II, the patriarch of Armenians in Turkey, has struggled for years to have the state cover the water and lighting costs of the country’s churches.
An Armenian church foundation’s chair in Istanbul, who did not want to be named, said the directorate had begun to pay the lighting costs of churches in some districts, but not in other districts.
“They tell the districts whose costs were not met that they did not pay their previous debts and that they are required to do so beforehand. As such, the process has remained suspended,” the foundation chair said. Meanwhile, Fener Greek Patriarchate press secretary Father Dositheos Anagnostopulos told the Daily News that they did not have any problem with regard to lighting costs since it has been meeting them for many years.
Cemevis not included
However cemevis, the houses of worship for Alevis, are not included in the new work. “Unfortunately, the 'opening' process regarding Alevis has been left unfinished,” Alevi Association Federation founder Metin Tarhan told the Daily News.
“Our demands are being postponed. I don’t know how the government authorities will explain that, but there are still some prejudices against us,” Tarhan said. “If religious services are to be provided by the state, it must be done equally. It is necessary to guarantee the rights of Alevis and other faith groups.”