Turkey’s Alevis Struggle for Religious and Secular Acceptance

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ISTANBUL, Turkey — This past July, the president of Turkey, Abdullah Gul, spoke to an assembled crowd of Shiite Turks, known as Alevis. The speech, calling for unity and acceptance of minorities, came less than a month after Gul’s Islamist-oriented Justice and Development Party (AKP) was spared closure by the constitutional court for anti-secular activity. Much of the Turkish press hailed the moment as a new beginning, the start of a more inclusive and tolerant atmosphere in the country. However, three months later, with the Kurdish dominated southeast alight with riots and the Alevis holding a 50,000-strong demonstration in Ankara […]

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