An unidentified assailant wrote insulting and curse-filled graffiti on the walls of a cemevi, an Alevi house of worship, in the northwestern province of Bursa early on Thursday, according to a report by the Doğan news agency.
The report said security cameras showed a masked assailant spray painting the walls, stairs and surroundings of the Hacı Bektaş-ı Veli Cultural Center and cemevi in Bursa’s Kestel district. The assailant was also recorded photographing the graffiti on his mobile phone.
After the attack cemevi officials notified police, who then launched an search to find the assailant.
Bursa Alevi Foundations platform members gathered in front of the cemevi and delivered a press statement on behalf of the platform condemning the incident. “Disintegration in society, which is on the rise, has reached the point where hatred is spilled out onto a doors of friendship,” the statement said.
It noted that video footage showed that the attack was “premeditated and planned.” “In this country’s history the massacres of Maraş, Çorum and Sivas are still fresh in the memory. While these wounds still have not healed, incidents directed at our Alevi democratic citizens’ businessplaces and our cemevi are an attack on our belief of living together,” it read.
The statement also quoted from philosopher Hacı Bektaş-ı Velis, saying, “Do not hurt even if you are hurt.” Hacı Bektaş-ı Veli (1248-1337) was a humanist philosopher and founder of the Bektaşi sect, a heterodox Islamic order.
“We once again state that we will live in brotherhood with Turks, Kurds, Alevis and Sunnis. We have filed a criminal complaint about the suspect of this incident and the reactionary powers behind it. We will follow up this incident until they are punished,” the statement said.
Meanwhile, Turkish media reported on Friday that the man who attacked a church’s wall in İstanbul’s Kadıköy district was taken to Bakırköy Psychiatric Hospital. The suspect was detained on May 1 after committing racist vandalism on the wall of the Armenian Surp Takavor Church, but was released a day later under judicial control by a court.
The graffiti on the wall read “This country is ours” and a pile of trash was also dumped in front of the church’s door. Police captured the identified suspect in a derelict building, where he was hiding. The suspect reportedly has psychological problems and had attempted to commit suicide twice before the attack.
In his testimony the suspect said he painted the graffiti on the church’s wall “because officials in the church behaved badly.” On May 1, the Interior Ministry released a statement condemning the graffiti attack.