By Tord Olsson
Within the emerging momentum for brand new and reformulated cultural identities, the Turkish Alevi have additionally emerged at the scene, hard due acceptance. during this procedure a few dramatic occasions have served as vital milestones: the clashes among Sunni and Alevi in Kahramanmaras in 1979 and Corum in 1980, the incendiarism in Sivas in 1992, and the riots in Istanbul (Gaziosmanpasa) in 1995. much less evocative, yet ultimately extra major, has been the emerging curiosity in Alevi folklore and non secular practices. Questions have additionally arisen as to what this department of Islamic heterodoxy represents when it comes to previous and new identities. during this booklet, those questions are addressed through essentially the most trendy students within the box.
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Additional resources for Alevi Identity: Cultural, Religious and Social Perspectives (Transactions (Svenska Forskningsinstitutet I Istanbul), V. 8.)
On the Bektashi at that time cf. Norton 1983, 1990. 15 Clayer (1990) has recently added a comprehensive study on Islamic mystic orders in Albania in modern times, including a fundamental stock-taking of the local Bektashi tekke, the dervish lodge. We owe the first ethnographic information on Alevi groups in Anatolia to travelers, geographers (Brandenburg 1905), missionaries (White 1913, 1919; van Rensselaer Trowbridge 1921), orientalists and archeologists (von Luschan 1886) on the Tahtacı, a formerly nomadic but now settled group of woodworkers.
14 In times when Sunni Muslims rediscover religion as a tool for political claims and attack the existing secular system because it restricts religious liberty, the overwhelming majority of Alevi saw the Kemalist Republic as a guarantee of their survival, though they still have to suffer discrimination occasionally, and though some of the Kemalist reforms have dealt Bektashism and the Alevi religious system some harsh blows. At a time when methods of oral history are still applicable, investigations in Bektashi and Alevi communities since the early republican period would not only help to reach a deeper understanding of the different ways Sunnis and Alevis have dealt with imposed change and modernization, and of how they experienced secularization, but also serve to fill the gaps of knowledge on Alevi and Bektashi cosmology, religious practice and the social system bound to it.
As a result of this, most of the Alevi of the sub-province centre moved out, leaving it predominantly, I estimate 90 per cent, Sunni. Now, relations are broadly peaceful: villagers of both sects come into the town in order to conduct their official business, attend market day and, occasionally, to sell their livestock. In spite of this, Alevi and Sunni largely go to their own respective shops, restaurants and garages. Unless a man is a civil servant or interested in left-wing politics he is unlikely to meet members of another sect on a regular basis.