Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım on Saturday said that Alevi houses of worship would be granted legal status in Turkey.
"We have decided to take the status of Alevi house of worship and Irfan [culture] centers out of discussion," Yıldırım said in his address to Alevi opinion leaders in Istanbul.
Alevis have long been urging Turkish governments to grant official status to their houses of worship, which are called cemevis. Though cemevis are houses of religious rituals for the Alevi minority of Turkey, so far they have no legal status equivalent to that of mosques or churches. The exact size of the Alevi population in Turkey is not known, but they constitute the second-largest religious community in the country after Sunni Muslims.
Yıldırım also said Turkey should confront its history as he recalled the 1938 massacre in eastern Tunceli province, which was then called Dersim. "The Dersim incidents in 1938 are a great pain. This country should confront Dersim [incident]," Yıldırım said. More than 14,000 civilians, a majority of whom were from the Alevi religious community, were killed in a military offensive in Dersim province following a rebellion against the then-government's resettlement policies in 1937 and 1938.
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