AKP’s Alevi Initiative
This chapter scrutinizes the standpoints of different Alevi groups in Turkey vis-á-vis the current Alevi initiative of the ruling party, the AKP, with a focus on the remodification of the curricula of the compulsory courses on religious culture and morality given at the primary- and secondary-school levels. In doing so, it will be claimed that the Alevis have generated two main stands in their perspectives toward the initiative with regard to the notion of tolerance. Those groups favoring the government initiative perceived the initiative as a kind of liberal tolerance, while the opposing groups perceived it as tolerance without recognition and respect. The fault line between the positions of the two groups mainly derives from their interpretation of Alevism. The former defines Alevism primarily within the boundaries of Islam, thus the AKP’s attempt to Islamize Alevism does not create a problem. The latter, on the other hand, perceives Alevism as a heterodox and syncretic culture borrowing from different traditions such as shamanism, Islam, pantheism and Christianity.1
KeywordsPolitical Elite Religious Education Religious Difference Cultural Integration Turkish Society
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