Wednesday, December 03, 2014

European Court Says Turkey Discriminated Against Alevi Houses of Worship

In Cumhuriyetçi Eğitim Ve Kültür Merkezi Vakfi v. Turkey, (ECHR, Dec, 2, 2014) (full text in French), the European Court of Human Rights in a Chamber Judgment held that Turkey had violated the European Convention on Human Rights (Art. 9 and 14) in its discriminatory treatment of Alevi houses of worship (cemevis),  As summarized by the Court's English language press release:
Turkish law reserved the exemption from payment of electricity bills to recognised places of worship and that, by excluding cemevis from the benefit of that status, it introduced a difference in treatment on the ground of religion.
Turkey's Daily News calls the decision a landmark ruling and says:
The Dec. 2 ruling comes after the Turkish government recently announced a fresh set of reforms aimed at answering the demands of Alevis. These reforms were greeted with considerable skepticism among Alevis, as they once again failed to recognize cemevis as official places of worship.
Chamber judgments are appealable to the Grand Chamber of the Court.