07. 11. 2014 / TODAY’S ZAMAN / ISTANBUL
CHP Deputy Chairs Şafak Pavey (L), Gürsel Tekin and Sezgin Tanrıkulu (not seen in the picture) held a press conference on Friday. (Photo: DHA)

CHP Deputy Chairs Şafak Pavey (L), Gürsel Tekin and Sezgin Tanrıkulu (not seen in the picture) held a press conference on Friday. (Photo: DHA)

The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) has prepared a 10-point report about Alevis suggesting that should they be granted more rights, such as formal recognition of their faith, and that these rights should be ensured by the Constitution.

CHP Deputy Chairs Şafak Pavey, Gürsel Tekin and Sezgin Tanrıkulu held a press conference on Friday, with Pavey sharing the contents of the comprehensive report with the press. Criticizing the government’s former initiatives to improve the rights of Alevis as “insufficient,” Pavey said the Alevi faith should be recognized, in contrast to the government’s steps to grant Alevis minority status.

Stressing that Alevis have always been excluded, attacked and faced with pressure stemming from strict societal dogmas, Pavey stated: “However, this social reality has turned into an official and legitimate practice by the Justice and Development Party [AK Party]. Alevis have been routinely excluded from the administration, and they have been targeted by the sultan in the palace [referring to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan].”

Stressing that ahead of their demands for fundamental rights and freedoms, the priority of Alevis is the establishment of a safe atmosphere, Pavey noted that members of the ruling party have systematically defamed and targeted Alevis by saying things like “You know he/she is Alevi [referring to political opponents],” “Cemevis [Alevi houses of worship] are home to terror” and “Alevism is a twisted sect.” Pavey maintained that the government should abandon such a distorted point of view.

Calling on the government to apologize to all Alevis for using such discriminatory language, Pavey emphasized the need to put an end to all profiling initiatives and steps by government-controlled institutions that aim to assimilate them.

Continuing her criticism of the government for allegedly attempting to empty out neighborhoods where Alevis are densely populated under the guise of urban transformation, Pavey said: “Initiatives to demolish places recognized as holy by Alevis, like the Abdal Musa shrine in Elmalı’s Tekke village, and granting a permit to operate a stone quarry next to the shrine, should be stopped.”

“Similarly, the initiative to construct a dam in Munzur Valley and the destruction of their holy places is another example of the assault on Alevis. The principle of equal citizenship requires equality on the basis of religion, language, ethnicity and gender,” she further commented.