Local and foreign tourists visit the Byzantine era monument of St. Sophia in Istanbul, Turkey, Sept. 28, 2004. (AP Photo/Murad Sezer)
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Turkey's Alevi community Tuesday hailed a Supreme Court ruling on the funding of their prayer houses as a historic decision bringing Turkey's biggest minority faith more closely in line with other beliefs.The decision followed a ruling by the European Court of Human Rights which said last year that Turkey's failure to exempt cemevis – Alevi places of worship – from paying their utility bills was discriminatory. Following the ECHR decision, the Cem Foundation in Istanbul, a leading Alevi organization, decided not to pay the bills in protest at the government's refusal to implement the ruling, prompting a lawsuit by Turkey's main power distribution company.
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