Sixth Attack on Alevi Place of Worship

Sixth Attack on Alevi Place of Worship

Sixth Attack on Alevi Place of Worship

An Alevi worship place in Izmir was attacked for the sixth time. A fire broke out which, according to the police, was caused by playing children. Ali Balk?z, Head of the Alevi Bektashi Federation, said it was an attack by the “followers of sharia”
Berivan TAPAN
Garden furniture of the Alevi Path Culture Association Cem House in Izmir was set on fire by unidentified individuals on Friday (1 October). The cem house, a place of worship and assemblage for Alevis, is located in the Asarl?k neighbourhood in the Menemen district of the city.
The EgeninSesi.com website reported that the fire was extinguished by residents. The police stated that the fire could have been set accidentally by children who played with flammable material. 

On the other hand, members of the Alevi community who came to the scene later on condemned the incident as an attack.
The President of the Alevi Path Culture Association gave his statement at the Menemen District Police Directorate. He claimed that children were not involved in the incident:
“There were several attempts to set our cem house on fire before but none of them were successful. However, the perpetrators could not be determined. We want the police to increase security measures around the cem house in this regard”.
Ali Balk?z
, Head of the Alevi Bektashi Federation (ABF), condemned the incident as well. He said that six attacks have been carried out against this cem house. Balk?z indicated that the Menemen police was insensitive to the matter and tried to conceal the incident.
Balk?z criticized that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdo?an and opposition leader Kemal K?l?çdaro?lu, Chair of the Republican People’s Party (CHP) omitted the issues of cem houses and compulsory religious educations in mutual talks. “When Alevis talk about arson, Mad?mak immediately comes to our minds. We do not want to experience this kind of incident again”, Balk?z said.
Balk?z reminded an announcement of the ABF made after a recent attack on art galleries in Tophane (Istanbul), saying that more such incidents had to be expected. For the fire in the cem house in Menemen one week after the attack in Tophane he held “followers of the sharia” responsible and said that they were being protected.
The head of ABF indicated that the windows of the Alevi Path Culture Association were broken in previous incidents and that food had been stolen. According to Balk?z, the Menemen police had prevented information on the incidents to be forwarded to the press.
Balk?z: “Attacks related to the referendum”

In Balk?z’ opinion, the attacks stem from the fact that the Alevi community said “no” in the referendum on the constitutional reform package on 12 September:
“This is a bad course. We warned the government. Recently, we can observe important developments related to the Kurdish question. This is positive for our country and the people, the atmosphere is softening. Yet, why do we not experience the same in regard to the requests of the Alevi”, Balk?z remarked.
“Why do K?l?çdaro?lu and Erdo?an not talk about cem houses and compulsory religious education? They did not tackle this problem, neither did they present it as a problem to be resolved easily. That might be the reason for this sort of perception of the people in Menemen. When Alevis talk about arson, Mad?mak immediately comes to our minds. We do not want to experience this kind of incident again”.
Erdal Güne?
, Head of the Pir Sultan Abdal Culture Association Menemen Branch Cem and Culture Houses, stated, “The windows of our cem houses were broken by throwing stones at them. The doors were damaged. Curses were written on the walls of the Cem House”.


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