Turkey, Kurds, Alevis and violations of Article 9 ECHR

On 2 December the Second Section ECtHR handed down two adverse judgments against Turkey for failure to respect Article 9 ECHR: one involving the Alevis and the other a Kurdish cultural association.

The Alevis

There are reckoned to be about 20 million Alevis in Turkey. They draw on Shi’a, Sufi and Anatolian folk traditions and have distinct rituals which can put them at odds with Sunni Muslims, to the extent that there is an argument as to whether Alevism is a distinct religion or merely a (heretical) branch of Islam.

In Cumhuriyetçi Eğitim ve Kültür Merkezi Vakfi v Turkey [2014] ECHR 1346 (French Text)the applicant foundation, Cumhuriyetçi Eğitim ve Kültür Merkezi Vakfı [Foundation for Republican Instruction and Culture: “CEM”] was established as a charity in 1995 with tax exemption under Decision No 1995/127 of 27 May 1998. It manages a number of cemevis: Alevi places of worship [5]. One of them is in Yenibosna.

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