GeriGündem State TV puts spotlight on Alevi religious ties
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State TV puts spotlight on Alevi religious ties

State TV puts spotlight on Alevi religious ties
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ISTANBUL - The Turkish Radio and Television Corporation, until now, solely focused on the month of Ramadan, during which Sunni Muslims fast. The Alevi community in the past has criticized the TRT’s failure to take notice of its 12-day fast. State television will focus its broadcasts on Alevis for several days as members of the liberal Islamic sect fast for the first 12 days of the month of Muharrem.

Alevi dede (elders) and leaders will be on Turkish Radio and Television Corporation, or TRT, channels, with live feeds from three cemevis - Alevi houses of worship - on the 10th day of Muharrem. The month of Muharrem started yesterday.   

The 12-day fast commemorates the murder of İmam Hussein, the son of Ali and the grandson of Mohammed at Karbala in today’s Iraq in 680 A.D.

There will be documentaries on Alevism and Karbalaa, and religious shows on TRT channels. TRT Director İbrahim Şahin said there would be a 10-minute show before the start of fasting and on the last day, Jan. 10, there would be a concert featuring hundreds of Alevi artists.

Şahin said he had been planning the program for the 12-days of Alevi fasting for the past year. "The TRT is the people’s channel and is open to all identities," he said.

On the 10th day of fasting, Jan. 7, the TRT will broadcast live from the three largest cemevis in Istanbul and Ankara. The main news that day will be broadcast from a cemevi in Ankara or Istanbul.

The Alevi community has been up in arms over the failure of the state to recognize them as a separate sect of Islam. The Sunni dominated Religious Affairs Directorate and the compulsory religious education teaches Sunni doctrines, while ignoring Alevis is one of the main concerns of the community. Another sticking point is that the Sunni house of worship, the mosque, is funded by the state, while the Alevi cemevis need donations from the community to survive.

The ruling Justice and Development Party, or AKP, announced major initiatives to address the complaints of Alevis before and after last year’s general elections, however, the community has been left disappointed by the government’s policies.

TRT focus turns to individual communities
The TRT, until now, solely focused on the month of Ramadan, during which Sunni Muslims fast. Alevis have criticized the TRT’s failure to take notice of their 12-day fast.

The Alevi programs come a few days before the TRT begins broadcasting its Kurdish language channel, TRT 6. TRT 6 will feature news programs, movies and music shows broadcast in Kurdish and will begin broadcasting Jan. 1.

The TRT will also begin its Armenian radio broadcasts in February.

According to an agreement signed between the TRT and Armenian state television five months ago, radio broadcasts will be followed by an Armenian Web site and a television channel.
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