Mosque-cemevi project halted due to government’s ‘parallel paranoia’

Labor Minister Faruk Çelik and the head of the CEM Foundation İzzettin Doğan are seen during the Groundbreaking ceremony of mosque-cemevi project.(Photo: Cihan)
Labor Minister Faruk Çelik and the head of the CEM Foundation İzzettin Doğan are seen during the Groundbreaking ceremony of mosque-cemevi project.(Photo: Cihan)


Date posted: May 18, 2015

Turkey’s first-ever complex housing both a mosque and a cemevi, an Alevi house of worship, has become the latest victim in the battle launched by the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government against the Gülen movement after the Mamak Municipality refused to grant a certificate of occupancy to the complex on the grounds that it was built with “parallel funds.”

The mosque-cemevi project’s groundbreaking ceremony was held in Ankara with the participation of Labor and Social Security Minister Faruk Çelik, a number of AK Party deputies and Alevi Cem Foundation President İzzettin Doğan and has been in construction since September of last year. The project, which is being carried out by the Cem Foundation and the Hacı Bektaş Veli Culture, Education, Health and Research Foundation, was first suggested by Fethullah Gülen, a Turkish Islamic scholar whose ideas inspired the Gülen movement, a faith-based civil society initiative. Speaking to the press following the ceremony, Doğan said that when Gülen first suggested the idea of a joint mosque and cemevi, his group welcomed the idea, adding that the project is financed by businesspeople from both the Alevi and Sunni communities.

However, according to a report in the Sözcü daily on May 12, the AK Party-led Mamak Municipality refused to issue a certificate of occupancy for the project on the grounds that it was financed by “parallel funds,” referring to businesspeople supportive of the Gülen movement, which is often denigrated by the government as a “parallel structure.”

The daily also said that another reason for the municipality not to issue the certificate of occupancy was that the mosque within the complex has not been constructed in compliance with the architectural plan approved by the municipality. Speaking to Sözcü, Mamak Municipality Vice Mayor Erdoğan Karadağ said the minaret that was built at the rear of the mosque on the right-hand side is not allowed, according to the architectural plan. “A tower should have been built instead of a minaret. That is why we did not issue the certificate of occupancy. The minaret is now being destroyed,” Karadağ said.

A certificate of occupancy is a document granted by a municipality to verify a building’s compliance with architectural plans and other laws, and confirming that the project is in suitable condition for occupancy.

The project, which is the first of its kind in modern Turkish history, was expected to be completed within one year and opened during Muharram, a month considered holy by Alevis, according to the Islamic lunar calendar. The complex was planned to include a conference hall for 350 people, a reading hall for children from disadvantaged families, lounges and guest rooms in addition to a soup kitchen which would be able to accommodate 350 people. There would also be rooms allocated for imams and Alevi religious leaders, called “dedes” and “zakirs,” to rest in. Both Sunnis and Alevis would be able to receive funeral services, including the washing of the deceased in accordance with Islamic rules. It would also have a mortuary serving both Alevis and Sunnis.

Tensions between the Alevi and Sunni communities in Turkey date back to Ottoman times. In 1511, the Ottoman army brutally suppressed a revolt by the Kızılbaş Turkmens of the Alevi faith on Anatolian soil and as many as 40,000 were killed. The Battle of Çaldıran, fought between the Ottoman Empire under Yavuz Sultan Selim and the Safavid Shah Ismail in 1514, resulted in the sultan issuing an edict to kill all the Kızılbaş in the region. During the Turkish republican era, hundreds of Alevis were killed in pogroms, which many now believe were masterminded by groups inside the state, in the cities of Çorum, Yozgat and Kahramanmaraş in the 1970s. Thirty-four Alevi intellectuals were burned to death in 1992 inside the Madımak Hotel in Sivas. In other incidents, such as in İstanbul’s predominantly Alevi Gazi neighborhood in 1995, Alevis were targeted by individuals armed with machine guns.

Gülen is a Turkish Islamic scholar known for his efforts to mend relations between Alevis and Sunnis while promoting interfaith understanding and tolerance. He has pioneered educational activities in a number of countries, along with efforts to promote intercultural and interfaith activities around the world.

Source: Today's Zaman , May 14, 2015


Related News

White House denies remarks about Gülen attributed to Obama

In an unusual statement, the White House has accused Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of misrepresenting the content of his phone conversation with US President Barack Obama on Feb. 19 regarding the extradition of Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, who lives in Pennsylvania.

Disabled teacher, husband removed from job as brothers under arrest

Fatma Koyun, a teacher with an 82 percent physical disability who was dismissed from his job as part of a post-coup investigation, says her husband as well as her brothers have been under arrest for months.

Fresh political raids targets leading Turkish NGO Kimse Yok Mu

Police teams from the Anti-Smuggling and Organized Crime division stormed the office of UN member NGO Kimse Yok Mu’s branch in Turkey’s northwestern province of Kocaeli on Wednesday in the latest political raid to sweep the country.

Abant Platform convenes to discuss problems of Turkish education system

Tens of educators, bureaucrats, civil society organizations and private education foundations from Turkey and 15 other countries have come together to discuss the problems of Turkish education system and to propose possible solutions to those problems at the Abant Platform’s 31st meeting that kicked off on Saturday in İstanbul.

Cold Turkey: Erdogan’s withdrawal from democracy

The bizarre, phantom-like failed coup d’etat staged against Erdoğan’s increasingly brutal regime on July 15 last year saw him seize the opportunity to exterminate, imprison and purge tens of thousands of his enemies, real and imagined, within all strata of civil society, the military, government, media, education, health, the judiciary and other institutions.

Turkey: A climate of fear; losers in the aftermath of the coup attempt

Turkey at large will lose as Erdoğan chooses the retaliatory path and purges relentlessly, splitting the country into supporters and adversaries. A climate of fear and indignation will envelop not only the many institutions that were hit hard, but Turkey in general, and the Middle East will suffer even further than it is already suffering.

Latest News

Fethullah Gülen’s Condolence Message for South African Human Rights Defender Archbishop Desmond Tutu

Hizmet Movement Declares Core Values with Unified Voice

Ankara systematically tortures supporters of Gülen movement, Kurds, Turkey Tribunal rapporteurs say

Erdogan possessed by Pharaoh, Herod, Hitler spirits?

Devious Use of International Organizations to Persecute Dissidents Abroad: The Erdogan Case

A “Controlled Coup”: Erdogan’s Contribution to the Autocrats’ Playbook

Why is Turkey’s Erdogan persecuting the Gulen movement?

Purge-victim man sent back to prison over Gulen links despite stage 4 cancer diagnosis

University refuses admission to woman jailed over Gülen links

In Case You Missed It

Zaman launches satirical magazine, defying pressure with humor

1,500 pounds of frozen meat for needy Staten Island families

Doesn’t Obama know Gülen is in the US?

Stability in the post-Erdoğan era

Switzerland: Number of Turkish asylum-seekers more than doubles

Man dies of heart attack while on way to help Turkish refugees in Greece

Gülen-linked gold firm’s operations halted for second time in two months

Copyright 2022 Hizmet News