EGMR: Grand Chamber hearing in the case Doğan and Others v. Turkey (application no. 62649/10)

von Dr. Georg Neureither

The applicants are 203 Turkish nationals who belong to the Alevi faith. The case concerns the rejection of the request made by the applicants, who belong to the Alevi faith, for provision of a religious public service which, they maintain, has been granted to date exclusively to the majority of citizens, who subscribe to the Sunni understanding of Islam. They contend that they have been discriminated against compared with citizens who follow the Sunni branch of Islam. On 22 June 2005 the applicants submitted a petition to the Prime Minister in which they complained that the Religious Affairs Department, operating under the Prime Minister and responsible for all matters relating to Islam and hence for administering places of worship, confined itself to cases concerning only one theological school of thought while disregarding all other faiths, including the Alevi faith. The petition claimed that Alevis’ rights were disregarded, that their places of worship (cemevis) were not recognised as such and that numerous obstacles prevented them from being built, that no provision was made in the budget for the running of existing places of worship and that the exercise of Alevis’ rights and freedoms was dependent on the good will of public officials.

On 19 August 2005 the applicants received a letter in reply, informing them that it was not possible to grant their requests. Following receipt of the letter 1,919 people, including the applicants, lodged an application for judicial review of the rejection decision ...

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