Alevis and Alevism in the changing context of Turkish politics: The justice and development party's alevi opening

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Bayram A. S., Toktaş Ş.

Turkish Studies, vol.12, pp.419-434, 2011 (SSCI) identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 12
  • Publication Date: 2011
  • Doi Number: 10.1080/14683849.2011.604214
  • Journal Name: Turkish Studies
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.419-434
  • Police Academy Affiliated: No


The Justice and Development Party (JDP, Adalet ve Kalki{dotless}nma Partisi) has launched a rapprochement policy toward the Alevis. The JDP's Alevi Opening has presented a unique case in Turkey's latest identity politics not only because Alevi claims, for the first time, came to be involved in political processes for official recognition and accommodation, but also because the process was handled by a political party which is regarded to have retained Islamist roots in Sunni interpretation. This article explores the JDP's Alevi Opening process and tries to explain the motivations behind the party's decision to incorporate the Alevi question in its political agenda. What is more, the debate that the opening has caused is also under scrutiny with the positions and arguments held by the actors and the agencies involved in the process, e.g., the Alevis (the secularist and the conservative wings), the General Directorate of Religious Affairs, the National Security Council, the JDP leadership and the Islamist intellectuals. © 2011 Taylor & Francis.