The mosque-cemevi project and the settlement process

Date posted: September 16, 2013


In Muş, where I was during the final days of August for the anniversary of the Battle of Manzigert, I had the chance to speak with citizens from both Manzigert and Ağrı about the terror problem and the solution process aimed at Turkish-Kurdish peace. Last Sunday, I was in the neighborhood of Tuzluçayır in Ankara’s Mamak district to watch the groundbreaking ceremony for the cami (mosque)-cemevi (house of worship for Alevis) project. While there, I headed over to listen in person to the complaints of protesters opposing this particular project.

The general opinion I heard from people was that this problem could have been solved much more easily long ago.

Years ago, provocations could have been prevented, which would have prevented wounds from being inflamed and re-opened, over and over again. The use of the Alevi and Kurdish problems as means to weaken Turkey’s competitive power could have been prevented. The settlement process aims for peace between Kurds and Turks, while the cami-cemevi project aims for peace between Alevis and Sunnis.

Here though, the truth is that there isn’t the slightest bit of enmity between either Turks and Kurds or Sunnis and Alevis. Not even the smallest version of some of the cruel ethnic and sectarian violence experienced in the West is experienced here in Anatolia and if such enmity had existed, it would have been impossible to bring it to an end with just one process or one project.

Here, Kurds and Turks — and Alevis and Sunnis — have never seen each other as adversaries or competitors. To the contrary, they have always viewed one another as kinfolk, with marriages and blood relationships springing forth between them. They have formed trade partnerships with each other in the business world. They fought shoulder to shoulder in the Turkish War of Independence and formed the Republic together.

Despite the many negative events, attempts to provoke them and various skirmishes following the formation of the Republic, these feelings of brotherhood and friendship were not even shaken. This is because, when it came down to the people at the core of this country, there was a wider awareness of similarities in terms of the oppression they were all experiencing. The same ideology that had stolen the basic rights of the Kurds and the Alevis had also targeted the pious and the non-Muslims of the country. The appearance that this tyranny was at the hands of “Turks” and “Sunnis” elicited a general feeling of alienation among many.

The settlement process and the cami-cemevi project will bring to an end the alienation that some were hoping to create through oppression.

In concert with the announcement that the terror organization, the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), would be withdrawing its armed elements, there were also some who came forward, hoping to block the progress of the cami-cemevi complex. The aims of the armed organization are quite clear — to protect its negotiating power and maintain its power over the people using fear to enter the coming election period on a strong footing. But what do those who oppose this cami-cemevi project say? They believe that Alevism is headed for assimilation. There is the worry that unity between the mosque and the cemevi will divide Alevis into two sections. They are also opposed to the fact that it was Fethullah Gülen who thought up this project, and the Hizmet movement that is supporting it.

The best answers to all these negative reactions come from leading Alevi names. Izzetitin Doğan, the head of the Cem Foundation, calls the Cami ve Cemevi Project a “project of peace and understanding,” underscoring that there is no difference in the perception of what peace is in the Islam of the Alevis and the Islam of the Sunnis. Doğan also notes that those hoping to bar the project from moving forward through protest actions can be neither proper Alevis nor Sunnis and says further that the philosophy of such people is lacking in depth.

The general opinion in and around the area of the project tends to be that other countries are trying to systematically disrupt the atmosphere of peace in Turkey. Some of the countries pointed to by people as being made uncomfortable by Turkey’s rising star when it comes to peace and stability are Germany, Iran, Israel, France, England and the US.

Source: Today's Zaman , September 15, 2013

Related News

Love is A Verb – forthcoming documentary on the Gülen Movement

Love Is A Verb is an examination of a social movement of Sufi-inspired Sunni Muslims that began in Turkey in the l960s and now spans across the globe. The group is called Hizmet, the Turkish word for “service” or The Gülen Movement after its inspiration and teacher, Fethullah Gülen, a man TIME magazine named as […]

A Forum On Africa in Turkey (II)

Istanbul was peaceful when we arrived to attend the 29th Abant international forum titled: “Africa: Between Experience and Inspiration”. The event which brought together about 160 participants held between June 28-30, 2013 at a serene and scenic mountain resort of Abantu Buyuk Hotel in Bolu,Turkey.

Supreme court calls on AK Party’s Şahin to substantiate claim about Gülen

The Supreme Court of Appeals has asked a senior Justice and Development Party (AK Party) official to hand over any evidence regarding his allegations about US-based Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen amid claims by the official that a judge at the high court had acted contrary to legal procedures and contacted Gülen before issuing his final verdict in a case against a businessman several years ago.

EU stresses right to freedom of expression in wake of media investigations [in Turkey]

The European Union has underlined that public authorities should not interfere with freedom of expression in the media, against the background of Turkish government pressure on the media through criminal and civil lawsuits. “The right to freedom of expression includes the freedom to receive and impart information and ideas without the interference of public authorities,” Peter Stano, spokesperson for EU Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Füle, said to the Cihan news agency.

Ramadan meal iftar helps Muslims break religious, cultural barriers with guests

“May God accept your fasting,” Turkish-American host Fuat Aksoy said as each member of his family bit into a date palm — together breaking their Ramadan fast.

Faith Communities and Home-Grown Extremism

Ottawa’s Intercultural Dialogue Institute hosted its annual Interfaith Dialogue Supper and Colloquium on March 26, 2015 at the Turkish Cultural Centre in Kanata. In seeing over one hundred participants from so many different faith communities was inspirational in itself, among them the eight members of the hosting committee

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

Gulen-Linked Turkish Schools In Kazakhstan Being Renamed

Astonishing questions about the failed coup attempt in Turkey

Turkic American Alliance calls on Davutoğlu to prove letter of complaint claims

South Africa welcomes International Festival of Language

Alleged Gülen sympathizers in prison banned from communication with outside world

Kosovo’s Parliament supports commission to probe deportation of six Turks

Fethullah Gülen’s Statement on Notre-Dame Cathedral Fire

Copyright 2021 Hizmet News