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    Nationalist party sends warm message to Alevis

    Hurriyet Daily News
    19.11.2008 - 00:00 | Son Güncelleme:

    ANKARA - The demonstration held last Sunday in the capital city Ankara by the Alevi community to voice their demands finds a positive response in the Nationalist Movement Party. Mutual fears and concerns should be overcome, says the party’s leader Devlet Bahçeli.

    Demands from Turkey’s Alevi community cannot be overlooked, the leader of nationalist opposition party has said.

    Devlet Bahçeli, leader of the Nationalist Movement Party, or MHP, said separating Turkish people based on ethnicity and belief was a major danger awaiting the country.

    "The MHP is sincerely ready to solve the problems of our Alevi brothers through mutual understanding, and to start a new process," Bahçeli said in an address to his deputies in Parliament yesterday.

    Alevis are a liberal branch of Islam and complain that the Sunni majority dominates the Religious Affairs Directorate, the top religious administrative body. The failure to recognize Cemevis is a major point of dissatisfaction and forces Alevi communities to support their houses of worship themselves, unlike the mosques used by Sunnis, which are paid for by state funds.

    The majority of Alevis have been supporters of leftist parties in Turkey, keeping a distance from the MHP, whose members were involved in deadly attacks against the Alevi community before the Sept. 12, 1980 coup d’etat. "Mutual fears and concerns should be overcome," Bahçeli said, adding that this situation should not be seen merely as a conflict between Sunnis and Alevis.

    ’Economy on the decline’
    Bahçeli's words came days after the mass demonstrations of Alevi groups criticizing the Justice and Development Party, or AKP, government for not keeping the given promises to the millions of Alevis of the country.

    The MHP leader also criticized the ruling party’s economy policies, arguing that the government was not aware of the real danger. "The global financial crisis has been affecting each and every country, but Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan thinks Turkey is immune," he said.

    The government’s policies, and its decision to accept an agreement with the International Monetary Fund, or IMF, also drew harsh criticisms from the main opposition party.

    "Instead of giving advice to Barack Obama, come and take necessary precautions [to strengthen the economy]," Deniz Baykal, leader of the Republican People’s Party, or CHP, said in his party’s parliamentary group meeting yesterday.

    Prime Minister Erdoğan signaled that his government could agree with the IMF over a program last week in Washington. Erdoğan earlier slammed the IMF for introducing a heavy burden on countries and argued that Turkey will not be one of these countries.

    "Which countries are applying to the IMF? Hungary and Serbia. Are there any EU countries applying to them?" Baykal asked, arguing that Erdoğan’s economic policy was just producing new unemployment records due to the collapse of the real economy.

    DTP: Where are we going?
    Yesterday’s third parliamentary group meeting was held by the pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party, or DTP. "The Prime Minister is insulting our deputies with the ugliest words," said DTP leader Ahmet Türk in his address to DTP deputies. "We are dealing with a prime minister whose eyes are full of hate and anger. He is still using the chauvinist motto of which even ultra-nationalists have already left," he said.

    Türk also recalled similar statements by other AKP officials, including Defense Minister Vecdi Gönül’s on the population exchange that allowed Turkey to build its nation 85 years ago. "Unfortunately, the real face of the AKP appears, which in fact represents a racist ideology," Türk said.
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