Turkey

Turkish PM backs legal status for Alevi worship places

Binali Yildirim: We have decided to take status of Alevi house of worship out from discussion

16.06.2018
Turkish PM backs legal status for Alevi worship places Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim delivers a speech during a meeting with Alevi opinion leaders on June 16, 2018 in Istanbul, Turkey. ( İsa Terli - Anadolu Agency )

ISTANBUL

Prime Minister Binali Yildirim on Saturday hinted that Alevi houses of worship would be granted legal status in Turkey.

“We have decided to take the status of Alevi house of worship and Irfan [culture] centers out from discussion,” Yildirim said in his address to Alevi opinion leaders in Istanbul.

Alevis have been for long urging Turkish governments to grant official status to their houses of worship.

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.

Yildirim also said Turkey should confront its history as he recalled the 1938 massacre in eastern Tunceli province, which was then called Dersim.

“1938 Dersim is a great pain. I say this very openly, this country should confront Dersim [incident],” Yildirim said.

More than 14,000 civilians, majority of whom were from the Alevi religious community, were killed in a military offensive in the Dersim province following a rebellion against the then government's resettlement policies.

Reporting by Hulya Corakci Ertan:Writing by Handan Kazanci

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