Worship places for Alevis and Sunnis may be constructed side by side, Islamic scholar says
Fethullah Gülen urged 'fraternity' over the controversy over the name of Istanbul's third bridge.Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen has issued a warning about the outcry that the name of the third bridge over the Bosphorus has stirred among the public in Turkey, especially among Alevis, urging "fraternity."
He proposed that mosques and cemevis, worship place for Alevis, may be constructed side by side in some regions, and also that Sunnis and Alevis should have common places for use such as parks.
Gülen said June 19 via his website that naming the bridge “Yavuz Sultan Selim,” after an Ottoman Sultan historically known for slaughtering Alevis, should not demolish “others bridges.”
“It is not right that our brothers stick to the name of the Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge and then say ‘We boycott this meal’ when a lot of bridges have been built. They should go there and come together with those who named the bridge,” the scholar said.
Following the announcement of the name, a group of Alevis had gathered at Garipçe village in Istanbul, where the new bridge construction has been started, to protest the decision.
Gülen emphasized the ties between Alevis and Sunnis, wishing that both confessions were in greater communion. “No, we do not have any differences! Everyone should respect the feelings of one another,” he said.
President Abdullah Gül, who announced the name of the third bridge during the solemn sod-cutting ceremony, has suggested that another project could be name after the mystic Hacı Bektaş Veli, who became one of the main teachers of Alevism, or the Alevi poet Pir Sultan Abdal.