Turkish gov’t prepares new reform bill for Alevis

Turkish gov’t prepares new reform bill for Alevis

Nuray Babacan ANKARA
Turkish gov’t prepares new reform bill for Alevis

Two representatives of the Alevi community who met with Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu on Dec. 2 are seen entering the meeting venue.

The Turkish government is working on a draft reform bill allowing Alevis to choose their own religion courses at school and give their places of worship the same rights as mosques.

The move comes after a recent ruling by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) stating that Turkey violated the rights of the Alevi community by refusing to cover the electricity costs of cemevis (Alevi places of worship).

The reform package is expected to be unveiled by the government in January 2015 and will give Alevi students the right to take elective religion courses in schools, while also officially recognizing cemevis as places of worship by the state.

The package is also expected to include reforms related to the Kurdish peace process, such as easing access to outside treatment for inmates with a disease or an illness.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu held a meeting with a group of Alevi leaders at a dinner on Dec. 2 in Ankara. Prime Ministry officials said that not all Alevi community representatives were present at the meeting, as Davutoğlu wanted to hold separate meetings with them in the following days. They also stressed that the meeting had been scheduled before the ECHR ruling on cemevis.