Erdogan’s Turkish Government Suppresses Alevi Muslim Minority
Turkish rulers, from Ottoman times to the present-day neo-fundamentalist regime of Recep Tayyip Erdogan, have never been comfortable with the Alevi Muslims. Counting a quarter of Turkey’s current domestic and diaspora population of 80 million, Alevis emerged in the 16th century as eastern Anatolian peasant rebels.
They supported Shia Persia, then governed by a mystical Sufi shah, against the Turkish sultan, who was also the supreme religious authority (caliph) of Sunni Islam. Alevi beliefs combine Shia devotion to Imam Ali Ibn Abi Talib, the cousin and son-in-law of Muhammad who was assassinated in 661, Sufi metaphysics, and elements of pre-Islamic Turkish shamanism and Kurdish social traditions. (...)