Turkish PM hints at giving legal status to Alevi worship houses
“We have decided to take the status of Alevi house of worship and Irfan [culture] centers out of the discussion,” Yıldırım said in an address to Alevi opinion leaders in Istanbul, state-run Anadolu Agency reported.
Alevis have been for long urging Turkish governments to grant official status to their houses of worship, which are currently not recognized or supported by the Directorate of Religious Affairs (Diyanet).
The exact size of the Alevi population in Turkey is not known but they constitute the second-largest religious community in the country after Sunni Muslims.
Yıldırım also said Turkey should “confront its history,” recalling the 1938 massacre in eastern Tunceli province, which was then called Dersim.
“Dersim in 1938 is a great pain. I say this very openly, this country should confront the Dersim [incident],” Yıldırım said.
More than 14,000 civilians, a majority of whom were Alevis, were killed in a military offensive in the Dersim province following a rebellion against the then government’s resettlement policies in 1938.