In a verdict regarding whether cemevis, Alevi places of worship, should be exempted from electricity bills, the Supreme Court of Appeals ruled Monday that the status of those places should be clarified first. An electricity distribution company had filed a lawsuit against cemevis as they did not pay bills and called for their bills to be paid by the religious authority, the Presidency of Religious Affairs (DİB).
Alevi foundations claim the verdict means the state would come to recognize cemevis as a place of worship. Several foundations had long called for the designation of cemevis as a place of worship and take state support.
The status of cemevis is a major issue for Alevis, the second-largest religious community in Turkey after Sunni Muslims. They have repeatedly called on the government to recognize the status of their places of worship. The DİB only caters to the Sunni population, but its responsibility is confined to appointing clerics to the mosques built by the public. Several municipalities already offer free services for cemevis such as free electricity and water.
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