ECHR rules against Turkey’s appeal for compensation to Alevi foundation

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has rejected the Turkish government’s appeal for a reduced compensation payment to a foundation that represents a portion of Turkey's Alevi sect, independent news site Diken reported on Tuesday.

The Cem Foundation in 2010 took Turkey to the ECHR for not paying the electricity bills of cem houses - Alevi places of worship -  in Istanbul.

Alevis, a heterodox Muslim sect, form Turkey’s largest religious minority.

The court ruled in 2014 that Turkey was discriminating against Alevis by failing to grant their places of worship the same status and advantages as those of other faiths. However, the Turkish Court of Appeals later decided to overturn a previous court verdict from 2012 that was in favour of the Istanbul’s Electric Distribution Company (Bedaş), which sued cem houses in Istanbul for not paying their electricity bills. Bedaş appealed, but the court one again ruled in favour of the Alevi cem houses.

In it’s 2017 decision the ECHR had ruled that Turkey pay 44,400 euros (264,000 liras) in compensation to the foundation, in addition to 10,000 euros in other damages for a total of 54,400 euros (324,000 liras).

Turkey had appealed for the fee to be decreased to 23,300 euros (approximately 140,000 liras).