The Alevi Opening and the Democratization Initiative in Turkey
Talha Köse Ph.D., SETA Foundation and scholar at George Mason’s Center for Islamic Studies
The JDP government has undertaken a series of steps to understand and respond to Alevi identity-based claims. Popularly known as the “Alevi opening” (Alevi açılımı) process, the initiative is the first systematic effort to deal with the identity-based discontents of the Alevis. This step is also part of the broader policy of “democratic opening,” which intends to address the burning problems of various identity groups (the Kurds, Alevis, religious minorities and the Roma people) in Turkey.
The presentation provided an analytic background for understanding the governing AKP’s “Alevi opening” initiative, which was launched in the summer of 2007. More specifically, the list of Alevi claims, the obstacles to the fulfillment of these issues, and the methods and the processes of the ongoing “Alevi opening” were elaborated. The presentation also discussed the limitations for addressing the Identity based problems in Turkey and possible ways to overcome these limitations
Talha Köse Ph.D., Dr. Köse is currently the Director of Research of the SETA Foundation in Washington D.C and is a scholar at George Mason’s Center for Islamic Studies. He has recently completed his doctoral studies at the Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution (ICAR)-George Mason University. Köse’s doctoral research focus was on the transformation of Alevi identity within the post-1980 milieu of Turkey, titled “Re-Negotiating Alevi Identity: Values, Emotions and the Contending Visions on Future.” He previously worked at the SETA Foundation in Ankara as Foreign Policy and Conflict Resolution analyst, he also worked at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. His areas of expertise include ethnic-sectarian and identity based conflicts, approaches to inter-cultural reconciliation, peace building, the Alevi issue in Turkey, and the Kurdish issue. He has a book titled “Iran’s Nuclear Agenda and the Middle East Politics: Balance of Powers and the Possibilities of Diplomatic Approaches (2008)” (in Turkish). Köse published academic articles in Insight Turkey, Akademik Ortadoğu, İnsan Hakları Arastırmaları. Further, Köse has authored several book chapters, policy reports and contributor to research projects both at SETA and at ICAR. Dr. Köse also taught as an adjunct faculty at George Mason University. His recent policy brief “AK Party Government and the Alevi Engagement Policy” was published on March 2010.