Tensions flare in parliament over Alevi community remarks

Tensions flare in parliament over Alevi community remarks
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Contentious exchange over Cemevi sparks debate in Turkish Parliament.

The TBMM (Turkish Grand National Assembly) Plan and Budget Commission, convened under the leadership of Mehmet Mus, witnessed heated exchanges when the status and treatment of the Alevi community came under discussion. HEDEP (Peoples' Equality and Democracy Party) Istanbul Deputy Celal Firat criticized the use of the ministry's budget and personnel as being harmful to Alevis, sparking immediate requests for clarification from AKP (Justice and Development Party) MPs İsmail Gunes and Nilgün Ok, who questioned the specifics of these allegations.

The session took a controversial turn when IYI (Good) Party Ankara Deputy Yuksel Arslan likened the cemevi, an Alevi place of worship, to 'terror.' This remark met with solid opposition from HEDEP members, including Sezai Temelli and Serhat Eren, who defended the cemevi's significance for the Alevi community.

As tensions rose, Commission Chairman Mehmet Mus attempted to restore order, urging members to abstain from using disrespectful language and to be mindful of discrimination and racism. Despite his call for civility, Mus's impartiality was questioned when he failed to address the incendiary comments directed towards the Alevi community, leading to further criticism from HEDEP members.

In the aftermath of the session, Celal Firat extended his address to cover the broader issues faced by cemevis and the attacks they have endured. AKP MP İsmail Gunes's sarcastic suggestion that Firat should visit cemevis in other provinces was met with a reminder from Firat of his role as the President of the Federation of Alevi Associations.

Taking to social media, Firat shared footage of the parliamentary debate, reiterating his stance that "Cemevis are places of worship for Alevis!" and vowing to continue the struggle for their legal recognition and respect.

Arslan's, who previously was the Chief of Staff for Ankara's Mayor Mansur Yavas, comments in the parliament have sparked a broader conversation on the treatment of the Alevi community and the status of their places of worship in Turkey.