Turkish gov't against discrimination toward Alevis, says PM Davutoğlu

Turkish gov't against discrimination toward Alevis, says PM Davutoğlu

Turkish govt against discrimination toward Alevis, says PM Davutoğlu

Prime Minister Davutoğlu speaks in front of a poster of Caliph Ali during his visit to a cemevi, an Alevi house of worship, in the predominantly Alevi-populated eastern city of Tunceli. AA Photo

Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has said the government is strongly against discrimination toward the Alevi citizens and he will “personally follow-up” if any kinds of official discrimination occur, during a speech in the eastern Turkish province of Tunceli on Nov. 23.

“We will not let any kind of discrimination take place against our Alevi brothers and sisters. I will talk to Alevi opinion leaders about the status of Cemevis [Alevi places of worship]. From now on, we will have only one criterion in our official appointments: Qualifications. I will personally follow up if there is discrimination against our Alevi citizens on any official level,” said Davutoğlu during his speech at Tunceli University, as part of the government’s latest “Alevi opening” to address the concerns of Turkey’s Alevi citizens.

The prime minister said the government had previously presented their thoughts about obligatory religious culture and ethics classes, saying if they contained insults to Alevis then they would consider it as “an insult to us all.”

“Nobody will be marginalized due to their beliefs and ethnic identities in the New Turkey,” said Davutoğlu.

He stressed that Alevis had been oppressed in the past and that as an Anatolian person, one needed to show the virtue of apologizing when it is needed, adding that ethnicity and sect posed no “threat.”
“The state will adopt a new tone, this is our commitment. We need to open a new era. The psychological threshold should be passed and empathy should be established. But we have a favor to ask of you too. As people from Dersim [the historic name for Tunceli], everyone should greet one another. Let’s visit the Cemevi [together]. Let’s offer a conversation empty of hate and violence. Let’s break down the walls in our heads. No one should build these walls again,” Davutoğlu said.

He also added that the name of Tunceli University would be changed to “Munzur University,” and that the old military barracks in the province would be renovated and turned into a “Dersim Museum.”