Jailed opposition politician denied religious rights

Eren Erdem, a former deputy for the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), has been denied his right to a visit from a religious official of his faith after being taken into custody on Jun. 29, news site Çağdaş Ses reported on Monday.

Erdem, a member of the Alevi faith, Turkey’s largest religious minority, has seen his request to see an Alevi spiritual leader, or Dede, rejected despite the right in Turkey for prisoners to have a visit from a representative of their faith once a week, his lawyer, Onur Çıngıl told Çağdaş Ses.

“This is a right that must be granted whenever possible to all detainees and convicts of any faith. There are many different sects in Turkey, and millions of Alevi citizens. At this point, there may be thousands of convicts and detainees experiencing the same problem,” said Çıngıl.

Erdem was taken into custody last month and held on terror charges for his alleged links to the Gülen movement, a religious group that the Turkish government holds responsible for the failed July 2016 coup attempt.