GeriGündem Turkey to allow Alevi faith taught in states schools- AKP deputy
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Turkey to allow Alevi faith taught in states schools- AKP deputy

Turkey to allow Alevi faith taught in states schools- AKP deputy
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Turkey could allow state schools to teach the Alevi Muslim faith, a senior ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) member told Reuters.

Alevis, the liberal wing of Islam, held its largest rally on record in November in Turkey’s capital, Ankara, to demand the abolishment of the Religious Affairs Directorate, the closure of mosques in Alevi villages and the removal compulsory religious courses in schools. 

 

Alevis are the second largest religious community in the country; although no official statistics are available, it is estimated that 20 million Alevis reside in Turkey.

 

They claim the Directorate of Religious Affairs is conducting missionary activities to assimilate Alevis into Sunnism by posting imams in Alevi populated villages, and complain their rights are ignored and places of worship not recognized by the state.

 

"Religion classes should be based on individual demand. If Alevis want to learn Alevi faith in schools, we could pave the way for that," Nihat Ergun, deputy head of the AKP's parliamentary group, told Reuters in an interview this week.

 

Ergun, appointed by the AKP to deal with the government's Alevi initiative, said those demands are under consideration, but said that not every demand would be met.

 

"We are studying those problems and want to show sincere efforts without prejudice. The problem has historical roots. It dates back 1,000 years and it is very complicated," he said.

 

The majority of Alevis vote for social democrat or leftist parties. But with municipal elections in March, observers are speculating that Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan could make a gesture towards Alevis to try to win their vote.

 

Turkey, which hopes to join the European Union, pledged to expand minority rights to Alevis and other groups earlier this year.

 

"The EU progress report is important for us, but these are Turkey's problems regardless of the European Union. A solution to this problem would improve Turkey-EU relations," Ergun told Reuters.

 

 

 

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