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Attacks on Alevi Cem House

29.03.2012, Bianet

The Pirsultan cem house in Yeşilkent (Avcılar/Istanbul) became subject to an attack of the municipality police once more. Many people were beaten.

The opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Avcılar Municipality laid the foundation stone for the cem house, a place of worship for the Alevi community, eight years ago. However, the building has not been finished still. Local resident Deniz Türkmenoğlu said that the opening ceremony of the cem house was held by CHP Mayor Mustafa Değirmencibut that not a single nail was hammered in afterwards.

This year, the local residents established an association to finish the construction of the cem house in co-operation with the municipality. Yet, they were told that the building was not going to serve as a cem house but as a culture centre.

The residents reminded the mayor that he promised them to build a cem house so that they would be able to practice their belief.

When they could not agree with the mayor, the local residents completed the building by their own means. They celebrated Ashurah and started to use the building as a place of worship. However, the municipality police tore down the cem house sign board on 18 January 2012 and demolished the building afterwards.

“They attacked again three days after they said we would find a solution”

The local residents started from scratch by their own means and with the support of various artists and other activities they managed to build a new gem house.

One week ago, the municipality police entered the house and smashed pictures hanging on the wall to the floor. Türkmenoğlu said that he had talked to the deputy mayor just three days before who had assured him that they were going to find a solution.

On Wednesday morning (28 March), the municipality police carried out another assault on the cem house. Türkmenoğlu stated that a team of one hundred people attacked the place and that everybody who came to the scene was beaten and exposed to tear gas. Three people on guard inside the cem house were apparently beaten heavily and obtained a medical report from hospital.

“CHP does not care about the matter”

Ali Kenanoğlu, President of the Hubyar Sultan Alevi Culture Association, attended the activities in the cem house and provided support from the very beginning. He claimed that both the Alevi institutions and the CHP were to blame in this process.

“The Alevi organizations do not give an adequate response to the CHP. If the CHP is involved, they protect them by saying ‘let’s take care of it silently’. Yet the municipality police threw the pictures of the sublime patron saints Hadji Bektash Veli and Pir Sultan Abdal on the floor”.”

“The CHP criticized the Avcılar Mayor for a poster with a woman wearing a headscarf as part of his election campaign. The president apologized on his behalf. Now the same president is doing this to the Alevi and the CHP does not say anything about it. This is embarrassing. The deputies do not care about the matter”.

CHP parliamentarian Süleyman Çelebi said that talks are still being continued.

CHP deputy Hüseyin Aygün announced via Twitter, “I protest the new attack on the cem house by the municipality. An attack on a place of worship is inacceptable”. (NV)

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