Tag Archives: MHP

Turkish Political Parties Get Interested In Alevi Vote

The Muslim Alevi minority in Turkey historically has been ignored due to its liberal views on religion which make it more akin a westernized liberal religion than a fundamentalist Muslim one. However, there is now renewed interest in a group that is estimated to constitute anywhere between six to twelve million people. The ruling Justice and Development Party(AKP) and the opposition Republican People’s Party(MHP) have suddenly realized securing the Alevi vote could be critical in gaining a parliamentary majority. The Alevi want an end to compulsory religious classes in public schools, the abolishment of the Religious Affairs Directorate and recognition of their right to be a lawful religion and entitled to all privileges that go along with that designation. The AKP has now announced religious classes will no longer be mandatory in schools.

Recognition of the Alevi minority will be an important step forward in accepting the right of Muslims to hold liberal ideas and not be controlled by religious laws. In recognizing the Alevi, there is also recognition for all liberal minded Muslims.

Turkish Minorities Get Support From Political Party

The past weekend marked several demonstrations in Turkey by members of the Alevi community to protest the ongoing bias and discrimination they face from dominant Muslim groups which refuse to recognize them as a legitimate Islamic force. Historically, the liberal minded Alevi, have sided with leftist political parties, and were surprised when the Nationalist Movement Party(MHP)reached out to Alevis and offered support for their fight for equality. Deviet Bahcli, leader of the MHP, urged an end to separating Turkish people on the basis of ethnicity or religion. “The MHP is sincerely ready to solve the problems of our Alevi brothers through mutual understanding, and to start a new process.”

Ironically, in the past, the MHP has been involved in anti-Alevi demonstrations so its turn around has caused confusion among Alevis, but also interest in discovering a new political ally. It could simply be a political move to gain votes against the governing Justice and Development Party(AKP) which has not met Alevi demands for an end to discrimination and recognition of them as Muslims who have a more liberal approach to life.