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The sustainability crisis of Alevis

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2009
Tol, Uğraş Ulaş
One of the important agendas of Turkey in the 2000s has been the “Alevi Revival”. The subject of this thesis, which claims that Alevis are in a search of identity rather than in a period of revival, is the sustainability crisis of the Alevis. Aleviness which has not been mentioned in the political sphere before has now turned into frequently spoken phenomenon. In this “Open Aleviness” period Alevis felt themselves more free and relieved and with this sense they started to claim more rights and freedoms. The most important and unexpected consequence of the period for the Alevis is the need for an identification of Aleviness. When Alevis realized the distance they have with Aleviness, they did not adopt different definitions of Aleviness made from different positions. Other identities of Alevis determine what kind of an Aleviness they would become. Nevertheless, while the variety of Aleviness understandings has increased, common points of different approaches have decreased. While Islamic Alevism which is one of the projects aiming at becoming hegemonic tries to sustain the tradition; the other one, Political Alevism refers to pressures and assaults of the past. As long as the Alevi elites can generate projects of Alevism which would encapsulate the tradition but differentiate itself from Islam and does not contradict with secularism; which could renew the traditional leadership; which could define positive elements; which have a mechanism of inclusion, and whose members will have the feeling of responsibility the sustainability crisis of Aleviness will deepen.