Thursday, June 04, 2015

European Court Holds Hearing On Alevis' Complaint Against Turkey

The Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights yesterday held a hearing in Doğan and Others v. Turkey. (Webcast of full hearing with English simultaneous translation.) The case, brought by members of Turkey's Alevi community, involves claims of unequal treatment. Daily Sabah, reporting on the hearing, provides more background:
Applicants to the court requested the state provide the same status to cemevis as mosques and offer free public services. Several Alevi citizens had filed a lawsuit against the Prime Ministry in 2005 after their request for cemevis to be granted a new status was rejected. They then took their case to the European Court of Human Rights in 2010. They claim Turkish authorities violated the European Convention on Human Rights concerning freedom of religion and thought and its ban on discrimination. An Alevi foundation had asked the government to implement regulations that would enable the bills of cemevis to be paid through a fund administered by the Presidency of Religious Affairs (DİB) that oversees the operation of mosques. Turkish courts had dismissed the foundation's application, basing their decision on the directorate's opinion that cemevis are not places of worship, but rather places of assembly in which spiritual ceremonies are held.