08 October 2010, Friday

Alewi community reacts to gaffes of Erbil

Years ago, a tv host, Guner Umit has insulted Alewi people in a tv contest. Mehmet Ali Erbil who is a famous tv host used same remarks with Guner Umit last week. Following his words, Alewi people made demonstrations in front of the buildings of Dogan Holding in Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir.

During the tv contest "Carkifelek" (Wheel of Fortune) broadcasted in Star TV, Erbil said offensive statements about Alewi people that associates them with incest.


Some 200 people came out to the Hurriyet Newspaper's building in Izmir carried a placard and protested Erbil's remarks. Spokesman of the group, chairman of Alevi Culture Associations Selahattin Ozel said that "We need to get rid of this mentality. This is an immorality, this is an occupational crime. I call the prosecutors of this country to conduct an investigation. We will also commence a suit immediately. We will assert our rights legally."


Some 30 people reacted against Erbil in Ankara, capital city of Turkey. Members from Associations of Alewi People came together in front of the building of Dogan Media Center.


Star TV announced that they decided to discontinue the program. The tv management stated that Erbil had no bad intentions. However they decided to discontinue to program saying that: "we cannot tolerate any offending remarks toward our people, so the Star TV executive board has decided to end the program".

On the other hand, Mehmet Ali Erbil went live on Ahmet Hakan's program in CNN Turk and apologized for his remarks. He said that "They misunderstood our words. I never insult them. I have many Alewi friends." He also published a note on a website, saying, "I am deeply sorry for having let slip from my tongue an expression offensive to many people living in this country."


Alewi organizations made a demonstration in front of the building of Dogan Media Center to protest Erbil's outrageous statements for Alewi community.

Istanbul branches of Pir Sultan Abdal Culture Associations, Alewi Bektasi Federation, Federation of Associations of Dersim and representatives from other Alewi organizations in Istanbul came together to protest Erbil and Star TV. Despite the police measures in front of the Dogan Media Center, people shouted slogans and holded banners saying "We didn't forget yesterday and we never forget your words", "We are Alewis and we are righteous", "Those who insults will be judged".

Spokesman of the group criticized Erbil and said that "This is not first for the Star TV. We are keeping an account of the insults. This shouldn't be forgotten that a person who makes a tv show should have the conscious of the communities existing in Turkey and should know their rituals, identity and culture and should respect them."

Following the press statement 6 spokesman from the group entered in the Star tv building to see managers of the tv channel. During the sit-down strike, some people from the group threw eggs to the building. Thereon, the tension rose between the police and group for a short time.  The spokesman of the delegation whom makes an interview with the managers of Star tv said that Star tv promised them not to assign Mehmet Ali Erbil for a tv show.

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