World Bulletin / News Desk
Religious Affairs Directorate President Mehmet Görmez said Alevism is a path of Islam, during a visit to Cologne's Hacı Bektaş Veli Alevi Cemevi (Alevi house of worship) over the weekend.
Görmez shared his opinions about Alevism and Alevis at the cemevi on Sunday. “Alevis are the real owners of Anatolian lands. Nobody has the right to view the Alevi people as a minority group. Sunnis and Alevis always have disputes over cemevis. We should not be divided among each other because of mosques and cemevis,” noted Görmez.
Görmez, at the cemevi, condemned the Madımak massacre, in which 37 people were killed -- most of whom were visiting Sivas in 1993 for an Alevi festival -- after an angry mob set the Madımak Hotel on fire. Görmez said that “nobody who is sane and fair can assert that there is nothing wrong with such kinds of incidents.”
The president also shared his dissatisfaction with the prejudices of some Sunnis against Alevis, saying that both sides are responsible for the misunderstandings and problems.
Görmez, later, responded to an assertion that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had described a cemevi at Karacaahmet Cemetery in İstanbul as “extremely ugly.” Görmez said he personally asked the prime minister about the incident. “The prime minister said to me that it would be impossible for him to speak about a cemevi in that way,” stated Görmez. The president added that Erdoğan was referring to illegal construction at the cemetery after people asked his opinion on the situation.
Yusuf Galip, an Alevi religious leader, thanked Görmez for his visit to the cemevi. Galip said “Alevism is in Islam,” criticizing people who see Alevism as un-Islamic.
Meanwhile, Alevis gathered in Ankara on Sunday as part of a rally organized by the Alevi Bektaşi Federation and the Federation of Alevi Associations to draw attention to the problems of Alevis. A large number of protestors clashed with police during the rally.
More than 14,000 civilians, majority of them from the Alevi community, were killed in a military offensive in Dersim province in 1937.
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