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Alevis stage protest against bridge name

03.06.2013 Hürriyet Daily News

Alevis from all around Turkey staged a protest yesterday against the name of the third bridge, “Yavuz Sultan Suleiman,” condemning the decision to name the bridge after an Ottoman sultan historically known for slaughtering Alevis.

Around 300 demonstrators who came to Istanbul with buses from different Turkish cities gathered at Garipçe villages in Istanbul where the new bridge construction has been kicked off last week.

The sultan, known as Selim the Grim in English, is the ninth Ottoman sultan and the first Ottoman caliph. Yavuz was famous for his conquests in the Eastern world in Turkish history but Alevis know him also as one of the ground breakers in the contemporary Turkey Sunni Muslim nation, claiming he had slaughtered Alevis during his rule.

The protestors all agreed that the name of the bridge should have been something that represents unification and peace but this name points to the diversifying policies of the governments.

“As an Alevi, I’m so angry and hurt,” Hülya Balcı told the Hürriyet Daily News during the protests. “Couldn’t they find any other name to put? There are many figures in history whose name stand for peace and love.”

There must be a bad intention underlying this decision, she said, adding this was a clear sign that the slaughter of Alevis was regarded as unimportant.

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