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.