Political discourses on Alevis and Alevism during AKP era
Selçuk, Elif (2014) Political discourses on Alevis and Alevism during AKP era. [Thesis]
Turkish secularism has been employed as a foundation of modernization since the founding of the Turkish Republic. But it has also been criticized severely, given its dilemmas. One basic dilemma is caused by the fact that Sunnism, the faith held by the majority, has become established as one of tenets of the Turkish national identity by the founders. The role and influence of Sunnism have been enhanced with multi-party democracy, to be accelerated after the 1980 coup. As a result, the non-Sunnis have faced difficulties and discrimination when practicing their faith. Political discourses about the largest non-Sunni group, the Alevis, are studied in this master’s thesis, in relation with the discussion, perception and presentation of their demands regarding the practice of Alevism during the 2000s. Like in previous periods, different parties used different discourses to defend or challenge the status quo. Unity has been a popular discourse, strengthened by the conspiracy and separatism discourses, used to justify the status quo and the differential treatment of non-Sunnis. Alevis, on the other hand, have used diversity and identity discourses to demand their rights, until the 2000s. The 2000s has been a debated period regarding transformations in terms of democracy, secularism and pluralism. During this era, Alevis began using democracy and equal citizenship discourses, leaving the identity and diversity discourse. On the other side, unity discourse has become to be increasingly used with reference to faith. But the debates has not led to positive, concrete outcomes for Alevis except for the increasing visibility of their faith and demands.
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