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

What is wrong with the ‘Muslim’ world?

Many radical Islamists and Islamophobes are mirror images of each other. They want to divide the world into two diametrically opposing, antagonistic and constantly belligerent political camps: “dar al-Harb” and “dar al-Islam.” They hate co-existence. They hate interdependence…

Hizmet-affiliated educational institutions succeed in TEOG exam

The results of the Transition from Primary to Secondary Education (TEOG) exam that was administered on Nov. 26-27 and Dec. 13-14 to eighth graders across Turkey show that students who prepared for the exam in Hizmet movement-affiliated schools did better than those who studied in other institutions.

Fethullah Gülen: Turkey is being dragged into a civil war

Issuing a press statement following the latest terrorist attack in Turkey on Saturday, Muslim scholar Fethullah Gülen claimed that Turkey is being dragged into a civil war but underlined that sympathizers of the movement sometimes called after him would always remain peaceful no matter how they are treated.

Türksat removes Zaman, 3 others from ad list

Türksat withdrew its ads from three other dailies as well: Bugün, Taraf and Radikal, all of which have published articles that criticized the government’s efforts to cover up an ongoing investigation into alleged corruption claims.

Kimse Yok Mu to share perspectives at Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting

Turkish charity Kimse Yok Mu (Is Anybody There?) a Turkey-based humanitarian aid organization will participate in the 2015 Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Annual Meeting in New York City September 26–29, which will be hosted by former US President Bill Clinton, and Clinton Foundation Vice Chair Chelsea Clinton.

Der Spiegel’s recent strange attack on the Hizmet (Gulen) Movement

Ihsan Yilmaz  August 9, 2012 Der Spiegel has published a piece about the Hizmet (Gülen) movement. Unfortunately, the piece does not look like a work of journalism. The wording, selection of so-called experts, and most importantly distortions, misleading points and false information make the piece very problematic. The piece starts with a claim that “Gülen […]

Latest News

This notable Pocono resident has been living here in exile since 1999

Logistics companies seized over Gülen links sold in fast-track auction

That is Why the Turkish Government could Pay 1 Billion Euros

ECtHR rules Bulgaria violated rights of Turkish journalist who was deported despite seeking asylum

Fethullah Gülen’s Message of Condolences in the Wake of the Western European Floods

Pregnant woman kept in prison for 4 months over Gülen links despite regulations

Normalization of Abduction, Torture, and Death in Erdogan’s Turkey

Turkey’s Maarif Foundation illegally seized German-run school in Ethiopia, says manager

Failed 2016 coup was gov’t plot to purge Gülenists from state bodies, journalist claims

In Case You Missed It

Turkish schools broke anti-black taboos in South Africa, says SA minister

Embracing the World: Fethullah Gülen’s Thought and Its Relationship to Jalaluddin Rumi and Others

Carino: Interfaith Thanksgiving service a good reminder

Experts speak on role of digital media in society in İstanbul

Erdoğan’s way: scare, divide and rule

I am a teacher, not a terrorist

Gülen, a man of peace, not behind attempted coup in Turkey

Copyright 2021 Hizmet News