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.