Political Representation of Alevi Kurds in Turkey: Historical Trends and Main Transformations

Authors

  • Cengiz Gunes Associate Lecturer, The Open University

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.33182/ks.v8i1.522

Keywords:

Political Representation, Alevi movement, PKK, HDP, pluralism in Turkey

Abstract

This article explains the process of change in the political representation of Alevi Kurds in Turkey since the country held its first competitive election in 1950. It applies process tracing methodology to identify the dominant trends in Alevi Kurds’ political representation and highlights how the mode of their political participation evolved over time. The discussion presented here develops an explanation that connects the effects of key events and processes that shapes the outcome of this complex political phenomenon. The strong appeal among Alevi Kurds of the Turkish socialist movement and the political parties that are associated with the secular republican regime is discussed before the impact of the rise of Alevi and Kurdish movements on the Alevi Kurds’ political representation is assessed. The barriers Turkey’s restrictive political and legal order place on Alevi Kurds’ political representation are also highlighted.

ABSTRACT IN KURMANJI

Temsîliyeta siyasî ya kurdên Elewî li Tirkiyeyê: Meylên dîrokî û veguherînên esasî

Ev gotar proseya guherîna temsîliyeta siyasî ya kurdên Elewî li Tirkiyeyê, ya ji wexta hilbijartina ewil ya pêşbazîdar a 1950an heta îro, rave dike. Gotar, rêbaza şopandina prosesê tetbîq dike ku meylên serdest ên di temsîliyeta siyasî ya kurdên Elewî de rave bike û li ser disekine ka şêwaza beşdarî û temsîliyeta wan bi demê re çawa vediguhere. Nîqaşa ku li vir hatiye diyarkirin ravekirineke wusa dike ku tesîra bûyerên û proseyên girîng yên ku şikl didin encama vê fenomena sîyasî ya tevlîhev bi hev ve girê dide. Daxwaza xurt a di nav kurdên Elewî yên di nav tevgerên sosyalîst ên tirk û partiyên siyasî yên têkilî rejîma komarî ya sekuler de tê nîqaşkirin berî nirxandina tesîra bilindbûna tevgerên Elewî û kurd ên li ser temsîliyeta siyasî a kurdên Elewî de. Herwiha, bal hatiye kişandin ser astengiyên nîzama qanûnî û siyasî ya sînorker a Tirkiyeyê ya ku li ser temsîliyeta kurdên Elewî bi cih dike.

Author Biography

Cengiz Gunes, Associate Lecturer, The Open University

Cengiz Gunes completed his PhD at the Department of Government, University of Essex, UK. His main research interests are in the areas of autonomy and the accommodation of minorities, peace and conflict studies, the Kurds in the Middle East, the international relations of the Middle East and Turkish politics. He is the author of The Kurdish National Movement in Turkey: From Protest to Resistance (London: Routledge, 2012) and The Kurds in a New Middle East: The Changing Geopolitics of a regional Conflict (London: Palgrave MacMillan, 2018) and co-editor of The Kurdish Question in Turkey: New Perspectives on Violence, Representation, and Reconciliation (London: Routledge, 2014). He has presented papers in national and international conferences and published articles in New Left Review, Ethnopolitics and Peace Review. He is currently an Associate Lecturer and an Honorary Research Associate in Politics at the Open University, UK.

References

References

Aygün, H. (February 5th 2011). Dersim 1938'e Dair "Yeni" Belgeler, Bilgiler – 2. Bianet. Retrieved from https://m.bianet.org/biamag/diger/127675-dersim-1938-e-dair-yeni-belgeler-bilgiler-2 (last accessed 19 December 2019).

Balkız, A. (November 3rd 2014). AKP hükümeti 'Alevi Açılımı' yapabilir mi?. Al Jazeera Turk. Retrieved from http://www.aljazeera.com.tr/gorus/akp-hukumeti-alevi-acilimi-yapabilir-mi (last accessed 11 January 2020).

Bayır, D. (2017). Türk Hukukunda Azınlıklar ve Milliyetçilik. Istanbul: Istanbul Bilgi Üniversitesi Yayınları.

Bayır, D. (2016). Minorities and Nationalism in Turkish Law. London and New York: Routledge.

Bianet (October 26th 2016). Gültan Kışanak Kimdir?. Retrieved from https://m.bianet.org/bianet/yasam/179987-gultan-kisanak-kimdir (last accessed 16 September 2019).

Bianet (December 26th 2011). Diyarbakir’da Cemevi Acildi. Retrieved

https://m.bianet.org/bianet/azinliklar/135026-diyarbakir-da-cemevi-acildi (last accessed 16 September 2019).

Bozarslan, H. (2003). Alevism and the Myths of Research: The Need for a New Research Agenda. In P. J. White and J. Jongerden (Eds.). Turkey’s Alevi Enigma: A Comprehensive Overview, (3-16). Leiden: Brill Publishers.

Cansız, S. (2018). Sara: My Whole Life was a Struggle (Tr. Janet Biehl). London: Pluto Press.

CHP (2011). CHP 2011 Seçim Bildirgesi (Place and date of publication not stated).

Cumhuriyet (October 5th 2015). Alevilik İslam dışında bir inanç. Retrieved from http://www.cumhuriyet.com.tr/haber/turkiye/178283/alevilik-islam-disinda-bir-inanc.html (last accessed 11 January 2020).

Deniz, D. (2019). ‘Kurdish Alevi Belief System, Reya Heqi/Raa Haqi: Structure, Networking, Ritual, and Function’. In E. Gezik and A. K. Gültekin (Eds.). Kurdish Alevis and the Case of Dersim - Historical and Contemporary Insights, (45-74). New York: Lexington Books.

DİHA (October 12th 2016). Alevilerin tek televizyonu TV 10 'lokma' ile kuruldu. Retrieved from http://diclehaber50.com/news/content/view/539601?page=38&from=3969113102 (last accessed 14 September 2019).

Dovi, S. (2018). Political Representation. Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy. URL: <https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/political-representation/>.

Dressler, M. (2013). Writing Religion: The Making of Turkish Alevi Islam. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Emre Cetin, B. K. (2018) Television and the Making of a Transnational Alevi Identity. National Identities, 20(1), 91–103.

Ertan, M. (2019). The latent politicization of Alevism: the affiliation between Alevis and leftist politics (1960–1980). Middle Eastern Studies, 55(6), 932-944.

Gezik, E. and Gültekin, A. K. (Eds.) (2019). Kurdish Alevis and the Case of Dersim - Historical and Contemporary Insights. New York: Lexington Books.

Grigoriadis, I. N. (2006). Political Participation of Turkey’s Kurds and Alevis: A Challenge for Turkey’s Democratic Consolidation. Southeast European and Black Sea Studies, 6(4), 335-461.

Gunes, C. (2019a). The Kurds in a New Middle East: The Changing Geopolitics of a Regional Conflict. London: Palgrave MacMillan.

Gunes, C. (2019b). ‘Unpacking the ‘Democratic Confederalism’ and ‘Democratic Autonomy’: Proposals of Turkey’s Kurdish Movement’. In O. Akbulut and E. Aktoprak (Eds.). Minority Self-Government in Europe and the Middle East: From Theory to Practice (246-267). Leiden: Brill Publishers.

Gunes, C. (2012). The Kurdish National Movement in Turkey: From Protest to Resistance. London and New York: Routledge.

Gurses, M. (2018). Anatomy of a Civil War: Sociopolitical Impacts of the Kurdish Conflict in Turkey. Michigan: Michigan University Press.

Güler, S. (2019). ‘The Relationship of Alevi Kurds with Election and Politics From the 1950s to Today as an Ethno-Religious and Class Identity’. In E. Gezik and A. K. Gültekin (Eds.). Kurdish Alevis and the Case of Dersim - Historical and Contemporary Insights, (15-42). New York: Lexington Books.

Jenkins, C., Aydın, S. and Cetin, U. (Eds.). (2018). Alevism as an Ethno-Religious Identity: Contested Boundaries. London and New York: Routledge.

Jongerden, J. (2003). Violation of Human Rights and the Alevis in Turkey. In P. J. White and J. Jongerden (Eds.). Turkey’s Alevi Enigma: A Comprehensive Overview, (71-89). Leiden: Brill.

Karakaya-Stump, A. (2018). The AKP, sectarianism, and the Alevis’ struggle for equal rights in Turkey, National Identities, 20(1), 53-67.

Karakaya-Stump, A. (2012). The Vefa’iyye, The Bektashiyye and genealogies of ‘Heterodox’ Islam in Anatolia: Rethinking the Köprülü Paradigm, Turcica, 44, 263-284.

Kieser, H. L. (July 27th 2011). Dersim Massacre, 1937-1938. SceincesPo: Mass Violence and Resistance – Research Network. Retrieved from https://www.sciencespo.fr/mass-violence-war-massacre-resistance/en/document/dersim-massacre-1937-1938.html (last accessed 19 December 2019).

KONDA (2015). 7 Haziran Sandık ve Seçmen Analizi. Istanbul: Konda.

KONDA (2018). Siyasal ve Toplumsal Araştırmalar Dizisi. Istanbul: Konda.

Leezenberg, M. (2003). Kurdish Alevis and the Kurdish Nationalist Movement in the 1990s. In P. J. White and J. Jongerden (Eds.). Turkey’s Alevi Enigma: A Comprehensive Overview, (197-212). Leiden: Brill.

Manbridge, J. (1999). Should Blacks represent Blacks and Women represent Women? A Contingent ‘Yes’, Journal of Politics, 61(3), 628-57.

Massicard, E. (2013). The Alevis in Turkey and Europe: Identity and Managing Territorial Diversity. London and New York: Routledge.

Öcalan, A. (2008). Din Sorununa Devrimci Yaklaşım. (3rd Edn). Cologne: Weşanen Serxwebûn.

Özyürek, E. (2009). ‘The Light of the Alevi Fire Was Lit in Germany and then Spread to Turkey’: A Transnational Debate on the Boundaries of Islam, Turkish Studies, 10 (2), 233-253.

Pitkin, H. F. (1967). The Concept of Representation. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press.

Saward, M. (2010). The Representative Claim. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Saward, M. (2006). The Representative Claim, Contemporary Political Theory, 5(3), 297-318.

Secim.Hbaerler.com (2018). 2018 Seçim Sonuçları. Retrieved from https://secim.haberler.com/2018/kayseri-secim-sonuclari/ (last accessed 13 February 2020).

Serxwebûn (1979). Maraş Katliamı Üzerine Bir Değerlendirme (Publisher and place of publication not stated).

Shankland, D. (2003). The Alevis in Turkey: The Emergence of a Secular Islamic Tradition. London and New York: Routledge Curzon.

Sözen, Ü. (2019). Culture, Politics and Contested Identity among the “Kurdish” Alevis of Dersim: The Case of the Munzur Culture and Nature Festival. Journal of Ethnic and Cultural Studies, 6 (1), 63-76.

T24 (January 13th 2020). İzmir Büyükşehir Belediye Meclisi'nden cemevlerine ibadethane statüsü. Retrieved from https://t24.com.tr/haber/izmir-buyuksehir-belediye-meclisi-nden-cemevlerine-ibadethane-statusu,855910 (last accessed 14 January 2020).

T24 (September 10th 2013). İzzettin Doğan: Cami-cemevi projesini protesto edenlerin Alevi olması mümkün değil. Retrieved from https://t24.com.tr/haber/izzettin-dogan-bunu-yapanlarin-alevi-olmasi-mumkun-degil,239164 (last accessed 10 January 2020).

Weineck, B. and Zimmermann, J. (Eds.) (2018a). Alevism between Standardisation and Plurality: Negotiating Texts, Sources and Cultural Heritage. Berlin: Peter Lang.

Weineck, B. and Zimmermann, J. (2018b). Introduction: Sourcing Alevism between Standard, “Canon” and Plurality. In B. Weineck and J. Zimmermann (Eds.). Alevism between Standardisation and Plurality: Negotiating Texts, Sources and Cultural Heritage, (21-58). Berlin: Peter Lang.

White, P. J. and Jongerden, J. (Eds.) (2003). Turkey’s Alevi Enigma: A Comprehensive Overview. Leiden: Brill.

Zürcher, E. (2017). Turkey: A Modern History (4th Edition). London and New York: I.B. Tauris.

Published

2020-05-24

How to Cite

Gunes, C. (2020). Political Representation of Alevi Kurds in Turkey: Historical Trends and Main Transformations . Kurdish Studies, 8(1), 71-90. https://doi.org/10.33182/ks.v8i1.522