Assimilation Model of the Ulama: ‘Acceptable Alevism’

Assimilation Model of the Ulama: ‘Acceptable Alevism’


The historic decision of the European Court of Human Rights on the cemevis in Turkey, which indicated that they are subjected to discrimination, has aroused the interest of world public opinion about Alevis’ ignored situation. Besides, Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi (Justice and Development Party) (AKP) government has not yet taken concrete steps except its nearly touristic cemevi visits, Alevis’ demand to be recognized as a different faith outside of the homogeneous patterns of the understanding of the Sharia Islam has been stonewalled by the references taken by the ulama and repeated by the government. In order to struggle with these repeated references, Alevis have no choice but to disengage themselves from Islamic examinations which have been imposed by the ulama mentality that had given massacre fatwas in the past. Indeed, this article analyses the assimilation process of Alevis, whose unique Anatolian existence has also become debatable by the ulama, recreated as acceptable Alevis through the Islamic examinations and transformed into absolute Sunnis in time by becoming proto-Sunnis. Accordingly, the strategy to immure Alevism in a model, which is a sort of assimilation tool created by dragging Alevism into a theological existence issue and the usage of ulama’s societal domination, as well as possible solution offers are examined.


Since the Ottomans, the political powers have always had an understanding that is built upon constantly defining Alevism, instead of recognizing it as it is. In fact, even though the ‘Alevi workshop’ stage plays held by the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government were tried to be marketed as a hope for Alevis at first, they did not go beyond completing the 21th century version of the mission of ‘Reinvention of Alevism’ inherited by the Ottoman ulama’s[1]  typical Sharia[2] mentality. As a matter of fact, after inviting Ökkeş Kenger, who is the primary suspect of the Maraş Massacre,[3] as a wise person (Miser, 2009) to Alevi workshop, it turns out that the stage play was intended to be demonstration of a kind of Alevi tragicomedy which has come to an end following a couple of acts-playss..

The situation of the Alevis was on the agenda once again after the decision of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) on December 2nd, 2014, which ruled that Turkey had “discriminated” against cemevis (ECHR, 2014). This decision, which stated that cemevis are required to be regarded in equal status with other places of worship, is of historical importance by constituting a serious basis for the recognition of cemevis as the holy shrines for the first time in the international law level.

For Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, it should not be so hard to guess in advance that such decisions would create certain effects on the public opinion. Yet, the fact that during his cemevi visit in Tunceli, which created an expectation amongst the public opinion, he did not breathe a word about derequisition of the name “Dersim” or the status of the cemevis or the fundamental rights of the Alevis showed that the secret agenda of the government remains as a mystery (Öner, 2014). Surely, it might be considered as a relative progress that an AKP leader used the name of Alevism for the first time in years by using democratic discourses instead of making Alevism hooted off or marginalised (Büyükşahin, 2012). However, it is impossible to expect a government which highly benefits from Alevi-phobia,[4] to sacrifice one of its most functional political polarization tools in its absolute sovereignty that it had built trailing the conservative majority. First and foremost, this situation is against the Machiavellist nature of the government that is the most important source of energy of its political accomplishments. In that regard, an expectation that the AKP government (whose sectarian politics are not only limited to the geography of Turkey, but also applied into the entire Middle Eastern geography as a nearly formal state policy) will resolve the Alevi problem, which is one of its most important power trumps, is an extremely optimistic approach and completely far away from the chaotic reality of the Middle East.

On the other hand, if we look at the historical depth of Alevis’ extorted rights to belief and to live, this is actually contingent upon neither solely the AKP hegemony of the recent years nor some specific developments in the contemporary history. The real problem that lies at the root is the fact that Alevism as a non-warrior heterodox belief culture, has been continuously stuck in the role by the suppression of an absolute power which is homogeneous, dominant, expansionist and pro-conquest. Because Alevism was able to survive as long as they had managed to escape from the massacres they experienced throughout the history; the Alevis are still under the influence of the timidity that remains in their collective memory today.

Theoretical Basis 

  1. Societal Domination

Societal domination is a hypothesis that grounds the inequalities between the groups that constitute the society and the tendency to embrace ideologies and views that legitimize intergroup discrimination. Accordingly, individuals, who are motivated to assume that the group in which they are involved should be superior and dominant over the other groups, would want the protection of the status differences between the societal groups which militate in favour of them. They would also embrace societal values, believes, attitudes and stereotypes more as long as they provide the necessary opposition against legal initiatives targeting equalisation. Thusly, according to this approach, the dominant group of the social hierarchy which legitimises inequalities between the groups that constitute the society and intergroup discrimination tends to embrace more the ideologies, myths and views in their favour (Pratto, Sidanius, Stallworth and Malle, 1994).

According to some socio-psychological research on this issue, the degree of social domination of the groups desiring their own group to be more dominant and superior over other groups and feeding these motivations with their biases is at very high levels. By this way, in every community, a group acquires more power and societal status over the others whereas the group or groups excluded from the dominant group have to live within a permanent societal hierarchy where the excluded group has to endure low-level jobs, societal limitations and negative stigmatisations (Sidanius, Pratto and Bobo, 1996). As a result of this, while the members of the dominant group possess the positive societal values, nice houses, qualified education, political power, prosperity, material and symbolic resources; what is remained for the members of the oppressed and alienated group includes notably some negative societal values, imprisonment, diseases and stigmatisations (Sidanius and Pratto, 1999).

  1. Social Exclusion

It refers to the situations and processes in which the individuals are prevented from having complete access to opportunities enabling them to maintain their lives and to build a future in the social cycle and they are deprived of fundamental needs, civilian, political, economic, citizenship and human rights (Sunal, 2010). The most important reason of social exclusion is the marginalising and stigmatising social prejudices of the dominant society against those who are not alike (Toprak, 2008).

According to this approach, when people interact with each other; their health, status, comfort and other positive results are considerably dependent on their relations with others. In this respect, being socially accepted is one of the main aims of the human beings that they intend to achieve. However, the effort of an individual to be socially accepted for the purpose of not being subjected to social exclusion may result in a very difficult process leading to her own cognitive destruction and self-regulation impairment in the current system which is constructed upon certain normative standards (Baumeister, Twenge and Nuss, 2002).

  1. The Effects of Social Domination and Exclusion on Alevis

The basic data of the sociological research on Alevis called “Being Different in Turkey”, undertaken by Binnaz Toprak in various cities of Turkey in 2008 indicates that societal prejudices and oppression against Alevis exist in almost everywhere although they are less prominent in some cities. In this respect, it is understood that the long-lasting feeling of alienation of Alevis is fed by widespread societal biases –shaped by various slanders and insults– of the dominant society and (Toprak, 2008) and presuppositions that include a mythomania[5]  at the social scale.

In the interviews conducted during this research, there are various examples: While some Alevis, who rebel against societal oppressions, exclusions and prejudices, fight through Alevi Associations, there are also those who hide their identities by practicing or pretending to practice in accordance with Sunnism since they are fed up with oppression or they are afraid that their business would make a loss. A significant number of Alevis still hesitate to declare their identities in the name of protecting themselves and not being subjected to discrimination, after being oppressed and subjected to biases in the world of Sunnis under the effect of the ulama throughout the history. In fact, certain Alevis who gave away to despair in consequence of time-honoured social domination and exclusion against Alevis define their situation with the following words: “The only place there is non-discrimination against Alevis is the graveyard” (Toprak, 2008).

The Existence Problem of Alevism in Islam

Anatolian Alevism is a heterodox faith containing overtones from the past of the land where it has existed throughout the history. Unlike the current hegemonic homogenous senses of faith, it does not require an obligation to completely break away from its own cultural belonging, historical ties and languages of different ethnical identities which belong to this faith when it meets with other faiths. In fact, the esoteric[6] faith tradition of Alevism based on itikat[7] (creed) does include a diversity that harmonizes Alevism even with previous faith patterns (Ocak, 2000).

This disapproval situation of Alevism in the context of the homogenous perception of Islam is a matter of secular debate. These debates have always arisen with the enthusiasm of the religious ulama to physically and mentally put an end to Alevism. As slaughters took place in the past with “it is necessary to kill” provisions resulting from “out of Islamic” evaluations in the massacre fatwas of Shaikh al-Islams[8] such as Ebusuud Efendi and İdris-i Bitlisi in the past (Düzdağ, 2009), these debates continue today with ulama’s efforts to carve it into its powerful[9] faith patterns.

Even though it seems like there has been a progress from past to present as there are at least no legal slaughter fatwas anymore, these slaughters still continue within their mental versions every time when an ulama opinion is asked from the Directorate of Religious Affairs about Alevism. A typical example is that during the process of closing down Çankaya Cemevi Construction Association, which was closed since cemevi was defined as a place of worship in its charter, Ministry of Internal Affairs Associations Department has asked for a fatwa regarding the situation of cemevis from the Directorate of Religious Affairs which has no legal relation to Associations (İBDDB, 2005).

By referring to the Directorate of Religious Affairs opinion No: 1773 that was declared on 17/12/2004, Ministry of Internal Affairs Associations Department stated that Çankaya Cemevi Construction Association Charter’s some parts which cited cemevis as the places of worship, should be removed; otherwise, it would be sued for its closure at the Civil Court of First Instance. In fact, the official correspondences (İBDDB, 2005) which stated that the Directorate of Religious Affairs did not approve of this situation and “invited Alevis to Mosques and Masjids as places of worship” have shown that today’s ulama takes its functionality from the state power itself before the law and that it is the major obstacle for Alevism to breath.

On the other hand, as a result of the “Research on Turkey’s Religious Life” which was conducted jointly by the Directorate of Religious Affairs and Turkish Statistical Institution (TÜİK) with the participation of 21,632 people in 2013, not even one Alevi turned out to be living in Turkey –due to the fact that Alevism was not deigned to be mentioned in the religion options in the survey questionnaire. Moreover, the fact that the 259 page-research report did not even mention one word about Alevism is a proof that this secular theological existence problem of Alevism for the typical homogenous Islam understanding still keeps up-to-date (the Directorate of Religious Affairs, 2014).

When Alevis were being subjected to mass slaughters because of ulama’s accusations of impiety in the past, they had holy and aggrieved religious figures in their hearts such as the Ehl-i beyt[10] in esoteric interpretation of Islam. The same values –without solely definite place or time– are still parts of their cem,[11] deyiş,[12] grief and requiem; in summary, everywhere and any time their sentimental life practices take place (Zeidan, 1999). However, the dominant faith which perceives the concept of faith over solely ostensible[13] elements of cultural and religious assimilation codes has never been able to regard Alevism outside its own stereotypes. Therefore, the authority of Shaikh al-Islam, which gave fatwas for massacre in the past (Düzdağ, 2009), and of today’s Directorate of Religious Affairs which do not grant any rights of the Alevis reflect completely the same ulama. However, while the same mind-set did not recognize Alevism in none of the religious categories in the past in order to annihilate it, today this mentality restrained Alevism in a model inside of its own ostensible stereotypes.

Considering the current ulama’s assimilating approach –that involves various denials– towards Alevis, nothing has actually changed except the scope and the methods of the slaughter. Yet, Alevism which they regarded as ‘impiety which necessitates killing,’ has been placed into a right way and suddenly transformed into a convenient perception in the framework of homogenous mentality within Islam’s memorised own boundaries. It is enough to remember the reasons of recent Alevi slaughters and the slogans in parallel to slaughter fatwas of the Ottomans in order to understand that this mentality has remained unchanged (Öğüt, 2014). Today, the core of this issue is composed of the following: The dynamo of the Green status quo,[14] takiyeci,[15] mentality, has figured out the pragmatism of religion by using its dominant power and felicities of the developing age (Öğüt, 2012).

Fundamental Stages of the Assimilation Process

  1. Acceptable Alevism

This is the first stage of a certain type of mutant[16] project where the ulama is playing with all belief codes of Alevism, utilising contemporary methods of social repression and ostracism and its tools –against the ones who resist– in order to impose an ideal model of Alevism. While being marketed as an ideal and acceptable model of ulama’s Alevism through mutating Alevism, it is also serving for the other stages of the assimilation process for the preparation of Sharia’s Sunni Hanafi traditions.[17]

The most important tool of this mutational and acceptable Alevism solution[18] is Alevis’ eagerness to escape the social ostracism that they have had to suffer for centuries through the persistent Islamic tests (Toprak, 2008) held by ulama. The Islamic dignity that is given by the Sharia’s elites to Alevis for passing such tests, is a tyrannical tool as it enhances the permutation (devşirme)[19] of Alevis by being forced to lose their own original identities. Throughout this model, the aim is to use this domination tool in order to propagate the general.

However, those Islamic tests are not only about the compulsory religion classes given to the Alevis, who demand to be dignified with the ulama’s definition of a ‘Muslim.’ As such, they are expected to pass all of the required formal belief practices of virtual Islam including “Ramadan fasts, salaat rituals, Mosques and the Haj Pilgrimage” as a part of these tests (Karakaya-Stump, 2012).

The tragic history of Alevis is rife with unacceptable[20] examples obeying the powerful through the mask of acceptable Alevism. Such examples include Hızır Pasha’s[21] –who were an old fellow of Pir Sultan Abdal– authorisation of the order on Pir Sultan Abdal’s[22] execution and Yavuz Bingöl’s[23] consideration of the hooting of Berkin Elvan’s[24] mourning mother –Berkin Elvan is a 15-year-old victim of police brutality during the Gezi Park protests– as “humane” (Hakan, 2014). Such popular examples, which utilise the power of the powerful by immediately forgetting values of their own identity, act as social marketing idols to provide incentives and rewards in order to motivate the weaker segments of Alevis, who are tired of being the other and of being targets of social repression, towards the acceptable Alevism.

1.1. Alevism without Ali

This is a frequently used concept by Turkey’s powerful religious authority and the AKP government to marginalize and to make Alevis look like bogy men who deny the acceptable Alevism model imposed by the ulama (Kenanoğlu, 2014). The actual aim of this concept, which is used as the ‘bad’ model of the assimilation process, is to impose the acceptable Alevism on the subconscious of Alevis who are unwilling to be the targets of social marginalisation and Alevi-phobic attacks by the aggressive conservative majority as seen in the previous Alevi massacres.[25]

1.2. Alevism with Ali

This is the ideal concept –which is assumed to exist– as a ‘good model’ of Alevism against the model of ‘Alevism without Ali.’ that can be demonstrated by the ulama. The emphasis on “Ali” here, in terms of the virtual belief practices, is expected to adopt a version of “Ali” that is interpreted by and based on the powerful and homogenised understanding of Sunnism and Shiism’s Sharia fiqh[26] law. According to this understanding, the holy bait[27] for acceptable Alevism, which is “Alevism with Ali”, is solely about rotes and dogmas,[28] which formed the basis for current powerful ideology of the ulama, shaped by the incidences of power struggle during the Umayyad dynasty and the Abbasid period only 1400 years ago on the Arabian Peninsula.

  1. Proto-Sunnism

As a consequence of the acceptable Alevism created by the homogenised Islamic ideology, this is the last stage before the completion of the assimilation model which results in absolute Sunnism. Alevis, who become Proto-Sunnis, trail many other Alevis in Proto-Sunnism by mystifying them and leading to cognitive crises during their own assimilation period. Additionally, Proto-Sunnism, while attempting to be rewarded as ‘Islamic’ by the ulama through the adoption of Sunnism to idealise Alevism, is utilised as a tool to make Alevism lose its meaning as well.

However, Alevis have already had lives in fear because their slaughters were rendered obligatory by the Sheikh ul-Islam for centuries as “their lives, dignity and properties were halal for the Muslims,” since their belief has not complied with the description of the ulama (Düzdağ, 2009). The Alevis, who adopt Proto-Sunnism and virtual Islamic formal practices stating that ‘I go to the mosque, fast in Ramadan, pilgrimage and also circumambulate the Kaaba,’ are expected to abandon the Alevi identity and enter into a ‘transition’ period.

In Anatolia and Thrace, Alevi history of hundreds of the sites, which passed Islamic tests successfully by completing the assimilation process due to the establishment of mosques in Alevi villages –as the centres of assimilation– where people were afraid of massacres during the Ottoman period, is only a nostalgia today (Yıldırım, 2013). The expectation of dominant will existed since the Ottoman period that the physical existence of Alevis would transform into a mental version has been significantly reciprocated especially in the places where the Alevi population does not constitute the majority as in the example of Kütahya (Öz, 2006).

The latest example of some Alevis who are currently in the assimilation process is Neşet Ertaş’s relatives appeared in the mainstream media during Ertaş’s funeral. Neşet Ertaş was a well-respected traditional singer, whose relatives are from the oldest Alevis communities of the Abdal tradition (Taner, 2012). The fact that Neşet Ertaş is an example of an Alevi poet who was buried in compliance with Sunni methods is the reason why AKP government paid special attention to a formal state ceremony with its entire cadre (Kenanoğlu, 2012).


Alevis cannot choose but have to break loose from a marathon of such tedious and ambiguous tests that are imposed through the social repression by the ulama in order to exist within their real identities. First of all, they need to realise great differences between the definitions of virtual Islam of the ulama and their own esoteric Islam. Alevis are not obliged to define their beliefs or identities in accordance with Islamic standards of the present religious authority.

It is clear that the discussions on the theological existence of Alevism serve nothing but contribute to the ulama that deprive Alevis of their basic rights to live and their religious beliefs. If what is more important for Alevis is the survival of their original faith as it is considering its secular struggle for centuries since the Ottoman period, then the anxiety of how the dominant system would define this as a weak point –by falling into the trap of the ulama– should be eliminated. The Alevis should hint at the fact that they are under no obligation to become similar to the dominant belief or to be assimilated (devşirme) by the Turkish-Islam synthesis[29] through the rhetoric of “We are all alike, we are all Muslims” in order to live together. Instead, they should make their suppressed differences apparent. Rather than vanishing off the face of the earth by becoming similar, Alevis should fight for being able to exist with their existing differences. For this purpose, they should get rid of their complexes labelled by the ulama leading to the fear –that emergence of their differences fuels present Alevi-phobia such as “We would be regarded as nonbelievers again whose slaughter was necessary in the Ottoman period,” or “We will be targeted by indecent slanders once again like the candle burned out (mum söndü).”[30] If the Alevis can successfully get over such ambushes of the Sharia which are obstacles to their ‘existence,’ only then they will be able to demonstrate a strong posture to secure their entire rights which were constantly violated.

As a matter of fact, Alevis’ demands for rights have been obstructed so far by the following: ‘If you are Muslims, then please come on in the mosques,’ ‘If you are Muslims, then let’s proceed to Sunni religion courses,’ ‘If you are Muslims, then pay your taxes for ulama’s religion expenditures in the Directorate of Religious Affairs.’ For Alevis, it is already time to say ‘Enough! We cannot put up with this examination anymore’ considering the fact that the highest authorities of the Republic of Turkey, from the President of the Parliament to the Prime Minister respond to claimant Alevis’ starting by the expressions of “We have consulted the religious authority –ulama–, if Alevis are Muslims…” (Çiçek, 2012) and restricting them in the borders of mere homogenous Muslim perception.

Alevis, who want to escape from the dilemmas of the Sharia Islam, should realise that they have no alternative, but to be defined as a different religion as they are in a game, void of spiritual depth, whose rules are determined by the ulama. Accordingly, considering the Article 39[31] of the Lausanne Treaty which provides minority rights for non-Muslims (Oran, 2010), every move is of strategic legal important as a response to ulama’s chronic ambushes. Alevis should demonstrate a stance in which they are recognised by their original identity, whatever category this may be (religion, sect, cult, philosophy, culture, etc.), to attain their fundamental rights to live and believe without being victims of the jargon of the powerful religious authority.


The problem of disallowance of the ‘survival’ of Alevis has left significant traumatic marks in their tragic histories, from Kerbela Massacre[32] which is the reason why Anatolian Alevis mourn for 12 days every year in the month of Muharram[33] considering their hidden beliefs, to the Çaldıran War[34] frequently mentioned in Alevis’ phrases (deyiş) through which Alevis commemorate the Shah[35] for struggle for life in Anatolia in its own original way.

In fact, it is easy to observe the traumatic effects of such tragic history on some Alevis, who still tend to assume that they can save themselves from slanders and marginalisation –which are the most prevalent methods of social repression and exclusion– by imitating the Sunni belief practices to become similar to the powerful belief rather than fighting for their original identity (Toprak, 2008).

In the subconscious of Alevis who have been deprived of their basic rights such as life and religious liberty, it has always been a luxury to even hope for a belief model outside the one dictated by the ulama who is the perpetual executioner of them. Thusly, they have been convinced that they can only gain exclusive rights by the favour of some groups, as their lives are forgiven today. Consequently, collective reflexes of the Alevis have been suppressed by almost time-honoured social exclusion and oppression of the powerful who has determined the destiny of Alevis from past to present throughout the history.

Today, the continuous discussions on whether the cemevis of Alevis are religious temples, or  whether Alevis fast in Ramadan, or whether they go to the mosque or pilgrimage represent the obligation to become similar to the powerful or to pretend to be so due to their long-lasting suppression. More precisely, the ones in power today, once again, have created their Alevis as role-models that are assimilated to the absolute power even for the questions of recognising a temple as religious or providing the freedom to religion. Therefore, even the existence of most basic rights expecting freedom has become a theological existential problematic with religious tendency following ulama’s creation of its own ‘acceptable’ models which stigmatise dichotomies such as the ‘Good Alevi-Bad Alevi’.

After all, at the bottom of all impasses presented to the Alevis by the devices of the dominant Sharia Islam, chronic dogmas of the ulama lie portraying the existence of Alevis as disputable. Such dogmas should be eliminated. It has been assured that the acceptable Alevis having ‘the Muslim complex’, who do not want to be subject to social exclusion against mentioned dogmas, would fit into the category of virtual Islam’s homogenisation. After being successful at such virtual tests, these acceptable Alevis have entered into the phase of Proto-Sunnism. Hence, as the agents of acceptable model of Alevism, these individuals have maintained the assimilation process of ulama and gradually lost their ties with Alevism just like a typical devşirme project. This assimilation model is legitimized solely by the perception that caused the massacres to which Alevis were subjected for centuries and for them, it is the major obstacle to freely live within their own religious and cultural distinctness.

Özcan Öğüt, PhD Candidate, Department of Political Science, Ankara University & Department of Social Work, Hacettepe University, Ankara

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Yıldırım, A. (2013), “Osmanlı Engizisyonu: Anadolu’da İnançsal Zulüm Tarihi” (Ottoman Inquisiton: The history of religious suppression in Anatolia), İtalik Yayınları (Italik Publishing).

Zeidan, D. (1999), “The Alevi of Anatolia”, Middle East Review of International Affairs, No: 3.


[1]Ulama: A class which is considered as a theoretical authority monopolising the religion and including Islam’s religious scholars. This mission which was undertaken by the Ottoman Shayk al-Islams is maintained by the Directorate of Religious Affairs today. (Author’s definition)

[2]Shari’a: The one that is related to the Shari’a law. “General Turkish Dictionary,”

[3]Maraş Massacre: The Massacre that took place in Kahramanmaraş against the Alevis and leftists on December 19th/26th, 1978. Öğüt, Ö. (2014). “Maraş Katliamı: Katli Vacip Planlı Cinayetler”, Dersimnews, (“Maraş Massacre: Planned Murders that are necessary slaughters”)

[4]Alevi-phobia: Irrational fear against a group which has become an object of hatred in the society by a common and ordinary hatred speech which suggests that Alevis are ‘enemies of religion, who make mum söndü (which literally means blowing out the candle) and are unclean’. Karakaya- Stump, A. 07/01/2013, Birgün Gazetesi.

[5]Mythomania: Pathology of believing one’s own lies.

[6]Esoteric: Internal, gut instinct. “Genel Türkçe Sözlük” (“General Turkish Dictionary”)

[7]İtikat: Spritual ties of affection between the faith and the believer in Alevism. (Author’s definition)

[8]Shayk al-Islam: The authority responsible for religious affairs which ranked as the second top position after grand vizier in the cabinet of in the Ottoman Empire. “Genel Türkçe sözlük,” “General Turkish Dictionary,”

[9]Powerful/Abler: According to Islamic literature, it refers to the one who is able to cope with everything, who has a free hand, who has the power of disposition over power holders, who has the absolute power.

[10]Ehl-i beyt: The household which consists of the Last Muslim Prophet Mohammad’s daughter Fatma, his son-in-low Ali, their children Hasan and Hüseyin and the 12 Imams who descends from them.

[11]Cem: Alevi worship.

[12]Deyiş: A folk song that includes Alevi tradition, doctrine and religious elements. Yıldırım, A. (2013), Deyiş ve Direniş. İtalik Yayınları (Deyiş and Resistance, Italik Publishing).

[13]Ostensible: External, lost its soul or reflected only at the surface. “Genel Türkçe sözlük,” (General Turkish Dictionary)

[14]Green status quo: An absolute power which has taken over the hegemon system by carving it to itself and monopolized all the bodies of the state including legislative, executive and judicial powers by backed itself with the mass support of the conservative majority using Islamic values. (Author’s definition)

[15]Takiyeci: The one who hides his/her real intention on the path to Islamic Shari’a. (Author’s definition)

[16]Mutant: The one who experienced a change in its fundamental character and hence is not the same as it was initially (the definition adopted by the author).

[17]The qualification to be prepared for the Sunni Hanafi Sect: In Turkey, especially the one in Kütahya, there are many examples in which the Alevis completed their assimilation process, completely realising the rules of the beliefs and living practices of Islam’s Sunni Hanafi’s beliefs and living practices. Öz, G. (2006), “Tarih Boyu Aleviliğin Yokedilişi ve Direnenler; Kütahya Örneği” (The Extermination of Alawism and Resisters throughout the history: The Case of Kütahya).

[18]Solution: The homogeny solution of substances which do not chemically react. Somer G. & Yaşar A. (2009), Kimya Terimleri Sözlüğü (Chemical Terms Dictionary).

[19]Devshirmeh: An assimilation system of the Ottomans. Özdemir, S. (2008), “Osmanlı Devletinde Devşirme Sistemi”, Rağbet yayınları (Devshirmeh System in the Ottoman Empire, Rağbet Publishing).

[20]Unacceptable (Düşkün): the controversial individual who does not act in accordance with the fundamental belief rules including the principle of “appropriateness of the hand, tongue, and belt” Danimarka Alevi İnanç Toplumu DABF (Danish Alevi Belief Society) (2008), “Alevi-Bektaşi İnancının Esasları”. (The Rules of Alawism and Bektashism)

[21]Hızır Pasha: an Ottoman Vizier who was raised in Pir Sultan Abdal’s school. Köse, N. (2000), “Pir Sultan Abdal ve Hızır Paşa Hikayesi”(The Story of Pir Sultan Abdal and Hızır Pasha), Türk Dünyası İncelemeleri Dergisi (The Journal of Turkish World Examinations), no:4

[22]Pir Sultan Abdal: an Alevi folk poet who lived in Sivas in the 16th century.

[23]Yavuz Bingöl: Turkish musician, actor, son of a literature teacher and Alevi mother who was a poet known as “Şahsenem Bacı”

[24]Berkin Elvan: 15-year old boy targeted by a gas capsul from a close distance while on the way to buy bread on 16 July 2013 during the Taksim Gezi Park protests, who was dead in Okmeydanı Hospital while his weight was 16 kilos after staying in coma for 269 days, and whose funeral received thousands of visitors in Okmeydanı Cemevi. BBC. (2014), News, Europe,

[25]Alawism without Ali: There are Alevis who embrace this concept as a reaction against the marginalisation of the ulama, or by offering other theological alternatives and evidences for its existence. However, this article focuses on this concept through its definition and role within the assimilation process. (Author’s additional information)

[26]Fiqh: Fıkıh-Sharia Law. Islam’s Sharia laws and jurisdictions. “Genel Türkçe sözlük,” (General Turkish Dictionary)

[27]Zoka/ Bait: a type of bait used to catch big fish, which is a bullet with a needle in the shape of a small fish. “Genel Türkçe sözlük,” (General Turkish Dictionary).

[28]Dogma: An opinion that is expected to be accepted and obeyed without any questioning over its validity. “Genel Türkçe sözlük,” (General Turkish Dictionary).

[29] Turk-Islam synthesis: the assimilation model forced on all different identities by the military during the coup of 12 September 1980. Eser, T. (2014), “Zorunlu din dersi ve gericiliğin toplumsallaştırılması,”  24/09/2014, Birgün Gazetesi (Compulsory Religion Course and Socialization of Obscurantism”, Birgün NewsPaper).

[30]Mumsöndü -Candle blew out: the slander, originating from the imagination of Islamist zealots who cannot simply accept that men and women pray in the same room or exist in the same environment, expecting such an environment to result in sexual activities, suggesting that “Alewites have sexual intercourse regardless of whoever their partner is, whether he/she is his/her mother, brother or sister, when it gets dark after the candle blows out where they cannot see each other’s faces. (Author’s definition)

[31]Lausanne Treaty, Article 39: The non-Muslim minorities of Turkish nationality will receive the same citizenship status and rights as Muslims. Oran, B. (2010), “Lozan’ın Azınlıkların Korunması Bölümünü Yeniden Okurken”, Siyasal Bilgiler Fakültesi (SBF) Dergisi, Ankara (“While Rereading the Chapter of the Protection of Minorities in Lausanne Treaty”, Political Science Department Journal).

[32]Kerbela massacre: On 10 September 680, in Kerbela which is in today’s Iraq, the army which was under the command of Umayyad Caliph massacred the grandson of Islam’s prophet Mohammad, Huseyin and his relatives. Kennedy, H. (2001), “The Armies of the Caliphs: Military and Society in the Early Islamic State,” Routledge.

[33]Muharram month: first month of the Islamic calendar. “Genel Türkçe sözlük,”  (General Turkish Dictionary)

[34]Çaldıran War: on 23 August 1514, the war between the Safavid Dynasty and the Ottomans resulting in that Ottomans acquired the absolute power in Anatolia, enabling them to undertake mass Alevi massacres. Kaleli, L. (2006), “Şah Hatayi ve Pir Sultan,” Alev yayınevi (“Hatay of Shah and Pir Sultan”, Alevi Publising).

[35]Shah: the highest spiritual rank for such individuals including the last of Islam’s four Caliphs, Ali, and Shah Ismail Hatayi who is the founder of the Safavid Dynasty (and who is also one of the seven holy poets of Alevis). They are the fundamental values of Alawism. (Author’s definition)



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