Alevi “Openings” and Politicization of the “Alevi Issue” during the AKP rule
This article reviews recent government efforts to address the “Alevi issue” and identify their successes and failures. It demonstrates that the “Alevi openings” constituted paradoxical processes: tracing various components of the “openings” through news media, it shows that, on one hand, they enabled the “Alevi issue” to be brought to public attention. On the other hand, once Alevis were made more visible in public, non-sympathizers could mobilize their representation for their own ends. These empirical findings have profound theoretical implications. They show that “discursive claims of democratization” at the state level do not necessarily result in democratic mechanisms, which can resolve the demands of a pluralistic civil society. The author argues that what she calls the “tutelary secularism” in Turkey, in other words, the management and disciplining of religious groups, continues under the Justice and Development Party (AKP) rule. This model not only fails, but also produces new sources of conflict in Turkey.