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Oct 20 2018

Director of Turkey's Religious Affairs visited a Cemevi for the first time

The director of Turkey's Religious Affairs, Ali Erbaş, visited a Cemevi in the eastern city of Tunceli and spoke on Friday on the official status of Cemevis, Cumhuriyet reported

Cemevis are the places of worship for Turkey’s Alevi and Bektashi minority, but unlike Sunni mosques, they are not officially recognised by the Turkish state and are not entitled to state subsidies.

In his speech, Erbaş stated that he visited a Cemevi for the first time and added that there is grace and prosperity in unity and solidarity. He also conveyed Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's regards to people at the Cemevi.

A religious leader of the Tunceli Cemevi, Ali Ekber Yurt, said it's an honour to host the director of Religious Affairs in Tunceli where 90% of the population is Alevi. 

"Our biggest expectation is an official status to be granted for Cemevis. There are almost 10 thousand Cemevis in Turkey," Yurt said.

"Cemevis operating under government auditing is very important. Otherwise, radical groups abuse Cemevis and turn them into places that can damage our unity and solidarity," he added. 

The majority of the Alevi community in Turkey demands official status for Cemevis in during fifteen years of his ruling. Ankara promised many times to grant official status for Cemevis. However, Cemevis are still illegal in the eyes of Turkish laws.