Sunday, January 14, 2007

The Alevis of Turkey   posted by Razib @ 1/14/2007 11:32:00 AM

Ruchira Paul points me to this article about the Alevis of Turkey. CIA factbook says of Turkey: "Muslim 99.8% (mostly Sunni)." The articles suggests that about 20% of Turkish citizens are Alevi (I say "Turkish citizens" because many Alevis are Kurds, not ethnic Turks). It goes on to describe their religion, which is hard to pin down and is assumed to be vaguely Shia (mostly because anything non-Orthodox seems to be thrown into the Shia bag). I've noted before that it is likely they have some relationship to the Alawites of Syria, this must remain conjecture since both are operationally crypto-religions. That being said, it doesn't really matter much...except for the fact that the Middle East matters...because of oil and international politics....

Addendum: My own awareness of Alevis comes from taking a course on ethnic minorities in Germany as an undergraduate. The Alevi-Sunni schism is pretty evident in the Turkish Diaspora as the Alevis no longer have to dissimulate and kow-tow to the Sunni establishment. It is important to know this when an ethnic Turk attempts to represent Turks in Germany, and it turns out they're Alevi and so have no influence amongst most Turks.