Şanlıurfa governor approves financial aid for building of cemevi

April 30, 2012, Monday/ 16:31:00/ FETHİ ALTUN

The Şanlıurfa Governor's Office has approved financial support in the amount of TL 70,000 for the building of a cemevi, an Alevi place of worship, in the district of Sırrın.

Kemal Atalar, president of the Şanlıurfa branch of the Alevi Cultural Association, has said the financial support which was requested by the provincial council was approved on April 9 by the governor's office. The support is going to be provided in terms of building materials.

Showing his appreciation for the governor's decision, Atalar said, “We are grateful for the support but we would like to see a speedy implementation of the decision.”

He also said there have been similar requests for financial aid for the construction of cemevis in many of the country's provinces but that those requests had been turned down in most places. Atalar expressed the Alevi community's expectations for further approval of such requests.

The three-story cemevi will be situated on 2,096 square meters of land. Funeral services, a worship hall, a guest house, a soup kitchen and a conference center will all be included in the building.

Alevis practice a form of Islam that distinguishes their worship from that of the Sunni Muslim majority. Alevis accuse the Religious Affairs Directorate of bias as there is no allocation of funds for Alevi activities or religious leadership.

The Alevi population is estimated to be 6-15 million in Turkey, which has a population of about 75 million. Some Alevi leaders put the Alevi population as high as 30 million in the country.

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