Turkey: Letters of attestation issued by the Canadian Alevi Culture Center (CACC) (Kanada Alevi Kültür Merkezi, KAKM), including appearance, security features and signatories; letters of attestation and membership cards issued by the Pir Sultan Abdal Cultural Association (Pir Sultan Abdal Kültür Derneği) in Turkey, including appearance, security features and signatories (2015–June 2021) [TUR200513.E]

Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada

1. Letters of Attestation Issued by the CACC

In a telephone interview on 14 April 2021 and a follow up telephone interview on 9 June 2021 with the Research Directorate, the President of the CACC provided the information in sections 1.1, 1.2 and 1.3.

1.1 Appearance of Attestation Letters

Letters of attestation issued by the CACC contain the following features:

  • A logo [of the CACC (CACC 9 June 2021)] which is in "a unique colour and format";
  • A unique reference number which starts with CC (Canadian Cultural) followed by the first letter of the person's last name and then a unique number;
  • The signatures of two members of the current board of directors (CACC 14 Apr. 2021).

1.2 Signatories

Letters always contain the signatures of two members of the current board of directors (CACC 14 Apr. 2021). One signature must be from the President or the Vice President (CACC 14 Apr. 2021).

From 2015 to 2017 the signatories were as follows:

  • President: Salman Vural
  • Vice President: Ali Cobanoglu
  • Board Member: Mustafa Gigil (CACC 14 Apr. 2021).

From [July 2017 to February 2020 (CACC 9 June 2021)], the signatories were:

  • President: Murat Kusmez
  • Vice President: Ayhan Cicek
  • Board Member: Mustafa Gigil (CACC 14 Apr. 2021).

From [February to March 2020 (CACC 9 June 2021)] the signatories were:

  • President: Yemliha Yumusak
  • Vice President: Huseyn Tolu
  • Board Member: Mustafa Gigil (CACC 14 Apr. 2021).

The last letter before the CACC closed due to COVID-19 was issued on 23 March 2020. Due to COVID-19, letters were not issued from 24 March 2020 to July 2020. From July 2020 to December 2020, letters were provided "on and off" when the CACC was open. Letters have been provided on an "on call basis" in 2021 (CACC 9 June 2021).

The signatories as of June 2021 [beginning March 2020 (CACC 9 June 2021)] were:

  • President: Nilufer Yilmaz
  • Vice President: Mustafa Gigil
  • Board Members: Kamil Uzunova, Erkan Kunesogut, and Ali Kartal (CACC 14 Apr. 2021).

1.3 Issuing Procedures

Anyone can become a member of the CACC. However, letters of attestation are only issued to individuals who come from an Alevi region or city. The CACC has four team members who conduct research to verify that an individual is Alevi. If an individual can prove that they are Alevi, and this can be confirmed by the CACC's research, then a letter will be issued (CACC 14 Apr. 2021).

In a June 2021 follow-up telephone interview, the President indicated that in June 2021 a digital platform for the issuance of letters was developed and launched. As of June 2021, members only need to complete a digital form to request a letter. The verification process is then performed. Letters are now issued only in a digital format, but the digital letters have the same appearance and features as the letters that were previously issued by the CACC (CACC 9 June 2021).

2. Letters of Attestation and Membership Cards Issued by Pir Sultan Abdal Cultural Associates USA (Pir Sultan Abdal USA)

In a telephone interview with the Research Directorate, the Head of the Pir Sultan Abdal USA Board of Directors provided the information in sections 2, 2.1 and 2.2.

Pir Sultan Abdal USA is based in the US and is not affiliated with any organizations in Turkey. The Pir Sultan Abdal cultural centre hosts activities, including music and other religious and cultural activities.

2.1 Membership Cards

Pir Sultan Abdal USA issues membership cards. An applicant will receive a membership card after paying a membership fee.

2.2 Attestation Letters

Letters are issued upon request. Pir Sultan Abdal USA can determine whether someone is Alevi based on their background, the part of Turkey they are from, and "how they talk." Attestation letters have a "company seal" and the signature of the president, who is Zeki Yesilyurt as of March 2021 (Pir Sultan Abdal USA 23 Mar. 2021).

3. Letters of Attestation and Membership Cards Issued by the Pir Sultan Abdal Cultural Association

Information on letters of attestation and membership cards issued by the Pir Sultan Abdal Association in Turkey could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate within the time constraints of this Response.

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim for refugee protection. Please find below the list of sources consulted in researching this Information Request.

References

Canadian Alevi Culture Center (CACC). 9 June 2021. Telephone interview with the President.

Canadian Alevi Culture Center (CACC). 14 April 2021. Telephone interview with the President.

Pir Sultan Abdal Cultural Associates USA (Pir Sultan Abdal USA). 23 March 2021. Telephone interview with the Head of the Board of Directors.

Additional Sources Consulted

Oral sources: Pir Sultan Abdal Kültür Derneği; Pir Sultan Cultural Centre and Cemevi (Pir-Der); Pir Sultan Kültür Merkezi Londra.

 

Internet sites, including: Alevi Bektaşi Federasyonu; Austrian Red Cross – Austrian Centre for Country of Origin and Asylum Research and Documentation; Pir Sultan Abdal Cultural Associates USA; Pir Sultan Abdal Kültür Derneği.