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Turkey’s Religious Affairs Directorate ordered by court to pay electric bills of Alevi house of worship

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A court in Mersin has ruled that the electric bills of a cemevi, an Alevi house of worship, must be paid by the Religious Affairs Directorate, the state institution responsible for the upkeep of legally recognized houses of worship, the Diken newspaper reported on Wednesday.

Marking another judicial confirmation of cemevis as places of worship, the ruling will reportedly remove the cemevis’ obligation to pay bills.

The Supreme Court of Appeals had confirmed in 2015 that cemevis were houses of worship as a result of another lawsuit filed by the Cem Vakfı, an Alevi foundation.

Earlier, in 2014, Turkey was fined by the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) for violating its Alevi citizens’ freedom of religion and discriminating against them when a request for the reimbursement of electric bills was rejected by the relevant institution on the grounds that Aleviism was not a religion and cemevis were not places of worship.

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