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The Alevi (in English /ælɛˈviː/, also /æˈlɛviː/ or /əˈleɪviː/) are a religious and cultural community, primarily in Turkey, constituting probably more than 15 million people. Alevism is a syncretistic religious tradition, historically grown out of the Bektashi-Sufi lineage within Shi'a Islam, incorporating many elements of local Anatolian folk culture.
The Alevi are also known as Alevi-Bektaşi to distinguish them from the Alawi, another Shi'a sect who are primarily found in in Syria, but in smaller numbers also in Turkey. The Alevi-Bektaşi are ethnically Turkish or Kurdish, while the Alawi are ethnically Arab.
Alevi worship takes place in assembly houses (cemevi). The ceremony (âyîn-i cem, or simply cem), features music and dance (semah) where both women and men participate. Instead of Arabic, the respective native language is predominant during rituals and praying.
- 1 The name
- 2 History
- 3 Demographics
- 4 Beliefs
- 5 Practices
- 6 Society
- 7 Relations with other Muslim groups
- 8 See also
- 9 References
- 10 Further reading
- 11 External links
"Alevi" is generally explained as referring to ‘Alī ibn Abī Tālib, cousin, and son-in-law of Muhammad. The name is a Persian and therefore Ottoman Turkish pronunciation of ‘Alawī (Arabic: علوي) "of or pertaining to ‘Alī".
Alevi used to be grouped as Kızılbaş ("redheads"), a generic term used by Sunni Muslims in the Ottoman Empire for the various Shi'a sects from the 15th century. Many other names exist (often for subgroupings), among them Tahtacı "Woodcutters", Abdal "Bards" and Çepni.
Alevism developed out of Shi'a Islam. Some consider the Alevi part of an "extremist" trend (ghulū) within Shi'ism, like the Alawi/Nusairi sect of Syria. Others[who?] emphasize elements of a a pre-Islamic substrate within Alevism, as in the case of groups such as the Ahl-e Haqq and the Yezidis, Zoroastrian influence might play some part. Still[who?] others detect the influence of Orthodox (Byzantine) or Armenian Christianity or Gnosticism. More than one of these viewpoints might be true simultaneously.
The Turkic tribes of northern Iran and eastern Anatolia were converted to Shī‘ism during the Ilkhan Mongol period. Yunus Emre and Haji Bektash Veli were early saints of this period who would later become associated with Alevism. The Qizilbash emerged from this milieu as a militant Sufi order centered in Ardabil whose leader Ismā‘il succeeded in conquering Persia.
Because of their heterodox beliefs and practices, Alevis have been the target of historical and recent oppression. They sided with the Persian Empire against the Ottoman Empire and forty thousand Alevis were killed in 1514 by Ottomans. The Qizilbash of Anatolia found themselves on the "wrong" side of the Ottoman-Safavid border after the 1555 Peace of Amasya. They become subjects of an Ottoman court which viewed them with suspicion. In that troubled period under Suleiman the Magnificent the Alevi people were persecuted and murdered.
Alevis were early supporters of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, whom they credit with ending Ottoman-era discrimination against them, while Kurdish Alevis viewed his rise with caution. However, Kemalism lost some of its appeal during the 1960s, as many Alevis turned towards more left-wing politics.
On July 2, 1993, Alevis were celebrating the Pir Sultan Abdal Festival. Coming out of mosques after their Friday's prayer, a mob of roughly 20,000 Sunni fundamentalists surrounded the Madimak Hotel in downtown Sivas, chanting anti-Alevi and pro-sharia slogans. The events quickly escalated and the mob ultimately set the hotel on fire and pelted the building with stones. While the fire killed thirty seven Alevis, several members of the police, soldiers, and the fire-department did nothing to stop the fire, or save the victims. The events surrounding the massacre were captured by TV cameras and broadcast all over the nation and the world. Every year, during the anniversary of the massacre, various Alevi organizations call for the arrest of those responsible. 33 individuals were sentenced to death in 1997 for crimes related to the massacre, but they were never executed, in part because Turkey abolished the death penalty in 2002. The hotel is slated to be turned into a memorial museum to the event.
There was also a drive-by shooting of Alevis in Istanbul's Gazi neighborhood in 1995 which resulted in the death of some Alevis. Then when protests followed, police periodically opened fire on the demonstrators. When the protests were over, there were a total of fifteen Alevis killed. The result was a revival of Alevi identity, and debate over this identity which continues today.
The Alevi population has been estimated as follows:
- "approx. 15 million..." —Krisztina Kehl-Bodrogi.
- In Turkey, 15 percent of Turkey's population (approx. 10.6 million) —David Shankland
- "Most Alevi writers and spokespersons claim that Turkey's population today is one-third Alevi-Bektashi, or more than 20 million. Lower estimates range from 10 to 12 million."—John Schindeldecker.
- "The Alevi constitute the second-largest religious community in Turkey (following the Sunnis), and number some 25% (15 million) of the total population (Alevis claim 30%–40%). Most (?) Alevis are ethnic and linguistic Turks, mainly of Turkmen descent from Central and Eastern Anatolia. Some 20% of Alevis are Kurds (though most Kurds are Sunnis), and some 25% of Kurds in Turkey are Alevi (Kurmanji and Zaza speakers)." —David Zeidan.
- "15 to 20 million..." —Olli Rehn, from the 1996 (Camiel) "Eurlings Report" to the European Commission (on the suitability of Turkish accession to the EU).
- "...a world total of between 15 and 25 million adherents. There is no independent data for their numbers, so these statistics are estimates or conjectures." —"Alevism," from The Encyclopedia of the Orient.
In June 2008, several Turkish newspapers reported that the Turkish military had commissioned three universities to research the ethnic demography of Turkey. The study was done in 2000 and included all ethnic groupings. According to the results, the Alevi population of Turkey, including those who currently reside in Europe, is around 10 million. However, following the death of its leader in a suspicious traffic accident, remaining research scientists abandoned the project and never published the results.
Alevis have been subjected to persecution (often deadly) for centuries. Due to this fact, some have been assimilated. It is not clear how effective the above study is in including those who might be more timid about advertising their Alevi origins.
Some of the Kurdish Alevis speak Kurmanji or Zazaki. Some Alevis are Azeris. Despite universalist rhetoric (and in contrast with Islam in general, or the Bektashi order), Alevi communities do not generally acknowledge the possibility of conversion to Alevism.
Alevi communities are concentrated in central Anatolia, in a belt from Çorum in the west to Muş in the east. The only province within Turkey with an Alevi majority is Tunceli, formerly known as Dersim. Beginning in the 1960s, many Alevis have migrated to the large cities of western and southern Turkey—and to western Europe, especially Germany—and are now heavily urbanized.
There are also large communities of Alevis in some regions of Iranian Azerbaijan. The town of Ilkhichi (İlxıçı), which is located 87 km south west of Tabriz is almost entirely populated by Alevis. For political reasons, one of which was to create a distinct identity for these communities, they have not been called Alevi since the early 20th century. They are called various names, such as Ali Illahi, Ahl-e Haqq and Goran.
Groups with similar beliefs also exist in Iranian Kurdistan. Interestingly, both the Dersim (Zazaki / Zaza) people and the Gorani, who are both considered to belong to the Hawramani branch of the North West Iranian languages, adhere to a form of Alevi faith which resembles the religions of the Druze or Yazidi.
A Turkish scholar working in France has distinguished four main groups among contemporary Alevis, which cautiously show their distinctive features in modern Turkey.
- The first is mainly represented by the urban population and emerged during the Republic. It has for decades belonged to the political left and regards Alevism as an outlook on life more than a religion. The followers hold ritual unions of a religious character and have also established cultural associations named after Pir Sultan Abdal. Man enjoys a central role, as illustrated by the phrase "God is Man" quoted above in the context of the Trinity.
- The second group is more directed towards heterodox mysticism and stands closer to the Haci Bektashi Brotherhood. St Francis of Assisi and Mahatma Gandhi are considered better believers than many a Muslim.
- The third group regards themselves as true Muslims and are prepared to cooperate with the state. It adheres to the way of Jafar as-Sadiq, the sixth Imam. Its concept of God is closer to that of orthodox Islam, but like the two groups already mentioned it considers the Qur'an to have been manipulated by the early Sunni Caliphs in order to eliminate Ali.
- The fourth is said to be under active influence from official Iranian Shi'a to be confirmed adherents to Twelver Shia and to reject Bektashism. It follows Sharia and opposes secular state power.
Those of the first two groups rarely consider themselves as adherents of Islam.
Alevi beliefs are hard to define, since Alevism is a diverse movement without any central authority, and its boundaries with other groups are poorly demarcated. Many teachings are based on an orally transmitted tradition which has traditionally been kept secret from outsiders (but is now widely accessible).
The basis for Alevism's most distinctive beliefs is found in the Buyruks (compiled writings and dialogues of Sheikh Safi al-Din (eponym of the Safavi order), Ja'far al-Sadiq (the Sixth Imam), and other worthies). Also included are hymns (nefes) by figures such as Shah Ismail or Pir Sultan Abdal, stories of Hajji Bektash and other lore.
Allah, Muhammad and Ali
Alevis believe in the unity of Allah, Muhammad, and Ali, but this is not a trinity composed of God and the historical figures of Muhammad and Ali. Rather, Muhammad and Ali are representations of divine energies, the first of which is Allah.
In Alevi doctrine, Allah is divine consciousness which first creates and gives shape to the Kull-i Nafs, a latent passive energy existing within Godhead. Kull-i Nafs is actually the apparent power of God to give life form, almost like a womb in that it is a place of manifestation where the concealed potential within Allah can be known and made visible. Thus, the physical universe is a mirror image of Allah. Kull-i Nafs reflects the spirit or divine consciousness of Allah. Nafs is Arabic for breath and it is the breath that binds the spirit with Allah. Kull-i Nafs is also envisioned as the Universal Soul or Soul Body as it is the divine consciousness reflected through the breath of Allah which gives this soul its own life and forms the Universal Human, the prototypal human, made manifest in Muhammad. However, the prototypal human is not male or female, but is a perfect interplay between the two in much the same way as the Taoists envision the Taiji. Within this prototypal human active energies contain passive and passive contain active. The light or Nur which links the two together is represented by Ali.
So in Alevi thought there are three creative principles, the latent breath or Allah, the prototypal human which is made up of active and passive principles or Muhammad and the divine light or Ali. In Christianity these three principles are called the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Likewise, in Alevi belief the Father is likened to Allah, the Son to Muhammad and the Holy Spirit to Ali. Similar trinitarian conceptions appear in Judaism, with Crown, Queen and King, in Hinduism, with Brahma, Shiva and Vishnu, and in ancient Egypt they took the names Osiris, Isis and Horus, among other examples (see Triple deity).
In Alevi writings there are many references to the unity of Muhammad and Ali, such as:
- Ali Muhammed'dir, Muhammed Ali
- Gördüm bir elmadır, elhamdü-lillâh
- Ali is Muhammed, Muhammed is Ali;
- I saw they make up a whole apple, all praise is for Allah
The phrase "For the love of God-Muhammed-Ali” (Hak-Muhammed-Ali aşkına), is common to several Alevi prayers.
For some, the linking of the three together seems polytheistic and not in line with monotheistic Islamic teachings, but Alevis counter that such people do not understand the batini meaning of the Alevi equation of Allah-Muhammet-Ali.
The Twelve Imams
The Twelve Imams is another common Alevi belief. Each Imam represents a different aspect of the Universe and are realised as twelve services or oniki hizmet which are performed by members of the Alevi community. There is not much real affiliation with the actual Twelve Imams of Shi'i Islam, and indeed each Imam is believed to be a reflection of Ali, thus we find references to the "First Ali" (Birinci Ali), Imam Hasan the "Second 'Ali" (İkinci Ali), and so on up to the "Twelfth 'Ali" (Onikinci Ali), Imam Mehdi. The Twelfth Imam is hidden and represents the Messianic Age.
There are two sides to creation, one goes from a spiritual centre to plurality, the other goes from plurality to the spiritual centre. Plurality is the separation of pure consciousness from the divine source. It is seen as a curtain alienating creation from the divine source, and an illusion which in Alevism is called the Zahiri or the Exoteric side to reality. The hidden or true nature of creation is called the Batini or the Esoteric.
The fact of plurality in nature is attributed to the infinite potential energy of Kull-i Nafs when it takes corporeal form as it descends into being from Allah. During the Cem ceremony, the cantor or ashik sings:
- "All of us alive or lifeless are from one, this is ineffible, Sultan.
- For to love and to fall in love has been my fate from time immemorial."
This is sung as a reminder that the reason for creation is love, so that the followers may know themselves and each other and that they may love that which they know.
The Perfect Human Being
Linked to the concept of the Prototypal Human (represented by Muhammad) is that of the "Perfect Human Being" (Insan-i Kamil). Although it is common to refer to Ali and Haji Bektash Veli or the other Alevi saints as manifestations of the perfect human being, the Perfect Human Being is also identified with our true identity as pure consciousness, hence the Qur'anic concept of human beings not having original sin, consciousness being pure and perfect. The human task is to fully realise this state while still in material human form.
The Perfect Human Being is also defined in practical terms, as one who is in full moral control of his or her hands, tongue and loins (eline diline beline sahip); treats all kinds of people equally (yetmiş iki millete aynı gözle bakar); and serves the interests of others. One who has achieved this kind of enlightenment is also called eren or munavver.
The Alevi spiritual path (yol) is commonly understood to take place through four major life-stages, or "gates". These may be further subdivided into "four gates, forty levels" (dört kapı kırk makam). The first gate (religious law) is considered elementary (and this may be perceived as subtle criticism of other Muslim traditions).
The following are major crimes that cause an Alevi to be declared düşkün (shunned):
- killing a person
- committing adultery
- divorcing one’s wife
Most Alevi activity takes place in the context of the second gate (spiritual brotherhood), during which one submits to a living spiritual guide (dede, pir, mürşit). The existence of the third and fourth gates is mostly theoretical, though some older Alevis have apparently received initiation into the third.
The central Alevi corporate worship service is the cem. The ceremony's supposed prototype is the Prophet Muhammad's nocturnal ascent into heaven, where he beheld a gathering of forty saints (Kırklar Meclisi), and the Divine Reality made manifest in their leader, Ali.
- During the cem ceremony the ashik plays the Baglama whilst singing spiritual songs, some of which are centuries old and well known amongst Alevis. Every song, called a Nefes has spiritual meaning and aims to teach the participants important lessons. One such song goes thus:
- "Learn from your mistakes and be knowledgable,
- Don't look for faults in others,
- Look at 73 different people in the same way,
- God loves and created them all, so don't say anything against them."
- A family of ritual dances characterized by turning and swirling, is an inseparable part of any cem. Semah is performed by men and women together, to the accompaniment of the bağlama. The dances symbolize (for example) the revolution of the planets around the Sun (by man and woman turning in circles), and the putting off of one’s self and uniting with God.
- The Rite of Integration (görgü cemi) is a complex ritual occasion in which a variety of tasks are allotted to incumbents bound together by extrafamilial brotherhood (musahiplik), who undertake a dramatization of unity and integration under the direction of the spiritual leader (dede).
- The love of the creator for the created and vice versa is symbolised in the Cem ceremony by the use of fruit juice and/or red wine [Dem] which represents the intoxication of the lover in the beloved. During the ceremony is Dem one of the twelve duties of the participants. (see above)
- At the closing of the cem ceremony the Dede who leads the ceremony engages the participants in a discussion, this discussion is called a sohbet.
The phrase mum söndü ("The candle went out") alludes to an accusation about a holy moment of some cem rituals in which twelve candles (representing the Twelve Imams) are doused with water. For centuries it has been widely spread among Sunnis to demean Alevis by accusing them of having orgies after blowing off the ritual candles. However, this is a rumoured belief which does not exist.
This accusation has especially been used during the time of the Safavid-Ottoman conflict, as means to justify killing of the Qizilbash people, which were declared "infidels" by the Ottomans.
There are twelve services (Turkish: oniki hizmet) performed by attendees of the cem.
- Mürşid or Dede: This is the leader of the Cem who represents Muhammad and Ali. The Dede receives confession from the attendees at the beginning of the ceremony. He also leads funerals, Müsahiplik, marriage ceremonies and circumcisions. The status of Dede is hereditary and he must be a descendant of Ali and Fatima.
- Rehber "Guide": This position represents Husayn. The Rehber is a guide to the faithful and works closely with the Dede in the community.
- Gözcü: This position represents Abu Dharr al-Ghifari. S/he is the assistant to the Rehber. S/he is the Cem keeper responsible for keeping the faithful calm.
- Çerağcı: This position represents Jabir ibn Abd-Allah and s/he is the light-keeper responsible for maintaining the light traditionally given by a lamp or candles.
- Zakir: This position represents Bilal ibn al-Harith. S/he plays the bağlama and recites songs and prayers.
- Süpürgeci: This position represtns Salman the Persian. S/he is responsible for cleaning the Cemevi hall and symbolically sweeping the carpets during the Cem.
- Meydancı: This position represents Hudhayfah ibn al-Yaman.
- Niyazcı: this position represents Muhammad ibn Maslamah. S/he is responsible for distributing the sacred meal.
- İbrikçi: this position represents Kamber. S/he is responsible for washing the hands of the attendees.
- Kapıcı: this position represents Ghulam Kaysan. S/he is responsible for calling the faithful to the Cem.
- Peyikçi: this position represents Amri Ayyari.
- Sakacı: represents Ammar ibn Yasir. Responsible for the distribution of water, sherbet, milk etc..
Musahiplik (roughly, "Companionship") is a covenant relationship between two men of the same age, preferably along with their wives. In a ceremony in the presence of a dede the partners make a life-long commitment to care for the spiritual, emotional, and physical needs of each other and their children. The ties between couples who have made this commitment is at least as strong as it is for blood relatives, so much so that müsahiplik is often called spiritual brotherhood (manevi kardeşlik). The children of covenanted couples may not marry.
Krisztina Kehl-Bodrogi reports that the Tahtacı identify musahiplik with the first gate (şeriat), since they regard it as a precondition for the second (tarikat). Those who attain to the third gate (marifat, "gnosis") must have been in a musahiplik relationship for at least twelve years. Entry into the third gate dissolves the musahiplik relationship (which otherwise persists unto death), in a ceremony called Öz Verme Ayini ("ceremony of giving up the self").
The value corresponding to the second gate (and necessary to enter the third) is aşinalik ("intimacy," perhaps with God). Its counterpart for the third gate is called peşinelik; for the fourth gate (hakikat, Ultimate Truth), cingildaşlik or cegildaşlik (translations uncertain).
Many folk practices may be identified, though few of them are specific to the Alevis. In this connection, scholar Martin van Bruinessen notes a sign from Turkey's Ministry of Religion, attached to Istanbul's shrine of Eyüp Sultan, which presents
...a long list of ‘superstitious’ practices that are emphatically declared to be non-Islamic and objectionable, such as lighting candles or placing ‘wishing stones’ on the tomb, tying pieces of cloth to the shrine or to the trees in front of it, throwing money on the tomb, asking the dead directly for help, circling seven times around the trees in the courtyard or pressing one’s face against the walls of the türbe in the hope of a supernatural cure, tying beads to the shrine and expecting supernatural support from them, sacrificing roosters or turkeys as a vow to the shrine. The list is probably an inventory of common local practices the authorities wish to prevent from re-emerging.
Other, similar practices include kissing door frames of holy rooms; not stepping on the threshold of holy buildings; seeking prayers from reputed healers; and making lokma and sharing it with others.
Newruz "New Day" is the Persian New Year observed on 21 March (the Spring equinox) as a celebration of newness and reconciliation. It is celebrated by many modern Turkic peoples as well. Apart from the original beliefs of the Zoroastrians regarding the New Year, Alevis also celebrate and commemorate the birth of Ali, his wedding with Fatima, the rescue of the prophet Yusuf from the well, and the creation of the world on this day. Various cems and special programs are held.
Hıdırellez honors the mysterious figure Khidr (Turkish: Hızır) who is sometimes identified with the prophet Elijah (Ilyas), and is said to have drunk of the water of life. Some hold that Khidr comes to the rescue of those in distress on land, while Elijah helps those at sea; and that they meet at a rose tree in the evening of every 6 May. The festival is also celebrated in parts of the Balkans by the name of "Erdelez," where it falls on the same day as Đurđevdan or St. George's Day.
Khidr is also honored with a three-day fast in mid-February called Hızır Orucu. In addition to avoiding any sort of comfort or enjoyment, Alevis also abstain from food and water for the entire day, though they do drink liquids other than water during the evening.
Note that the dates of the Khidr holidays can differ among Alevis, most of whom use a lunar calendar, but some a solar calendar.
The Muslim month of Muharram (Turkish: Mâtem Orucu) begins 20 days after Eid ul-Adha (Kurban Bayramı). Alevis observe a fast for the first twelve days. This culminates in the festival of Ashura (Aşure), which commemorates the martyrdom of Husayn at Karbala. The fast is broken with a special dish (also called aşure) prepared from a variety (often twelve) of fruits, nuts, and grains. Many events are associated with this celebration, including the salvation of Husayn's son Ali ibn Husayn from the massacre at Karbala, thus allowing the bloodline of the family of the prophet to continue.
The solstice and equinox celebrations and their confusion with historical and human incarnations are very well mirrored in Christian religious, and even political, celebrations, e.g. May Day and Christmas, and more closely still with Celtic traditions.
Alevis are not expected to give Zakat in the Islamic mode, and there is no set formula or prescribed amount for charity. A common method of Alevi almsgiving is through donating food (especially sacrificial animals) to be shared with worshippers and guests. Alevis also donate money to be used to help the poor, to support the religious, educational and cultural activities of Alevi centers and organizations (dergâh, vakıf, dernek), and to provide scholarships for students.
While Alevism does not recognize an obligation to go on pilgrimage, performing ziyarat and du'a at the tombs of Alevi-Bektashi saints or pirs is quite common. Some of the most frequently visited sites are the shrines of Şahkulu and Karacaahmet (both in Istanbul), Abdal Musa (Antalya), Battal Gazi (Eskişehir), the annual celebrations held at Hacıbektaş (16 August) and Sivas (the Pir Sultan Abdal Kültür Etkinlikleri, 23–24 June).
In contrast with the traditional secrecy of the cem ritual, the events at these cultural centers and sites are open to the public. In the case of the Hacibektaş celebration, since 1990 the activities there have been taken over by Turkey's Ministry of Culture in the interest of promoting tourism and Turkish patriotism rather than Alevi spirituality.
Some Alevis make pilgrimages to mountains and other natural sites believed to be imbued with holiness.
Alevi religious services, referred to collectively as cem or âyîn, include spiritual exercises that incorporate elements of zikr ("remembrance" or recitation of God's names, in this case without controlled breathing, but with some elements of body posturing) and sema (ritual dance). The latter is accompanied by sung mystical poetry in the vernacular, and by the sacred ritual instrument known as baglama or saz (a plucked folk lute with frets).
Such music is performed by specialists known as zâkir, aşik, sazende or güvende, depending on regional usage. They are recruited from Alevi communities and descended from dede lineages. Many are also known to be poet/minstrels (aik, ozan) who perpetuate the tradition of dervish-lodge (tekke) poets such as Yunus Emre (13th century), Nesîmî (14th century), Pir Sultan Abdal, Hata'î and Genç Abdal (16th century) and Kul Himmet and Kul Hüseyn (17th century). The poetry was composed in the Turkish vernacular and follows the principles of folk prosody known as hece vezne in which the focus is the number of syllables.
The specialized sacred musical repertoire of Alevi musicians includes
- Deyiş (songs of mystical love)
- Nefes (hymns concerning the mystical experience)
- Düvaz or dıwes imâm (hymns in honor of the 12 Alid imams)
- Mersiye (laments concerning the martyrdom of Imam Huseyn at Karbala)
- Miraclama (songs about the ascent of the Prophet Muhammad to heaven)
- Sema (ritual dance accompanied by folk lutes and sung poetry)
The dances are performed with dignity by couples, and choreographies employ circle and line formations as well as arrangements where couples face one another, thus synchronizing their movements more closely. As the tempo of the music increases, the figures become more complex and intense. There are many regional variants of sema, but the most widespread and important are the Dance of the Forty (Kırklar Semah) and the Dance of the Cranes (Turnalar Semah).
The âyîn-i-cem can be heard on the JVC CD Turkey. An Esoteric Sufi Ceremony. Unfortunately for non-specialists, the notes are very vague and give no indication of location, performers, musical genres or poetic forms. The recording was made in Istanbul in 1993, and the ceremony includes in an order typical of a cem: a deyi that reiterates the line of descent of the sect in a historical framework, two düvaz (one based on the poetry of Hatayi, and the other on the poetry of Kul Himmet), prayer formulas, the illâllâh genre that incorporates the tahlîl formula into the poem to create an atmosphere of zikr while sect members create rhythmic intensity by hitting their knees in time to the music and sway their bodies slightly, the Dance of the Forty (Kırklar Semah), the Dance of the Cranes (Turnalar Semah) and prayer formulas.
Alevis have a significant role in Turkish music and poetry. Pir Sultan Abdal, a 16th century Alevi poet whose poems and songs often contain spiritual themes, is revered as a saint and hero. Important figures are the Sufi poet Yunus Emre, widely regarded as having been Alevi, and Kaygusuz Abdal. Their poems shape Turkish culture up to now, and are also performed by modern artists. Songs attributed to these poets have been embraced by left-wingers in the 20th century. The aşık bards are also influenced by Alevi tradition.
Many of the major traditional musicians in Turkey are Alevi, including Arif Sağ, Musa Eroğlu, Erdal Erzincan, Aşık Mahzuni Şerif, Aşık Feyzullah Çınar, Aşık Veysel Şatıroğlu, Ali Ekber Çiçek, Sabahat Akkiraz, Belkıs Akkale, and Ulaş Özdemir. Other non-Alevis, such as Ruhi Su, have recorded many Alevi songs. Mercan Dede, an artist whose music combines electronic and traditional Sufi elements, has made some songs involving Alevi themes in cooperation with singer Sabahat Akkiraz. 
In contrast to the Bektashi tariqa, which like other Sufi orders is based on a silsila "initiatory chain or lineage" of teachers and their students, Alevi leaders succeed to their role on the basis of family descent. Perhaps ten percent of Alevis belong to a religious elite called ocak "hearth", indicating descent from ʻAlī and/or various other saints and heroes. Ocak members are called ocakzades or "sons of the hearth". This system apparently originated with Safavid Persia.
Alevi leaders are variously called murshid, pir, rehber or dede. Groups that conceive of these as ranks of a hierarchy (as in the Bektashi tariqa) disagree as to the order. The last of these, dede "grandfather", is the term preferred by the scholarly literature. Ocakzades may attain to the position of dede on the basis of selection (by a father from among several sons), character, and learning. In contrast to Alevi rhetoric on the equality of the sexes, it is generally assumed that only males may fill such leadership roles.
Traditionally dedes did not merely lead rituals, but led their communities, often in conjunction with local notables such as the ağas (large landowners) of the Dersim Region. They also acted as judges or arbiters, presiding over village courts called Düşkünlük Meydanı.
Ordinary Alevi would owe allegiance to a particular dede lineage (but not others) on the basis of pre-existing family or village relations. Some fall instead under the authority of Bektashi dargah (lodges).
In the wake of 20th century urbanization (which removed young laborers from the villages) and socialist influence (which looked upon the dedes with suspicion), the old hierarchy has largely broken down. Many dedes now receive salaries from Alevi cultural centers, which arguably subordinates their role. Such centers no longer feature community business or deliberation, such as the old ritual of reconciliation, but emphasize musical and dance performance to the exclusion of these. Dedes are now approached on a voluntary basis, and their role has become more circumscribed—limited to religious rituals, research, and giving advice.
Women in Alevism
According to John Shindeldecker "Alevis are proud to point out that they are monogamous, Alevi women worship together with men, Alevi women are free to dress in modern clothing, Alevi women are encouraged to get the best education they can, and Alevi women are free to go into any occupation they choose."
According to Australian anthropologist Dr. Sevgi Kilic, while Alevi women do not experience gender segregation in the private and public domain they are subject to traditional male values about women's sexuality and constructed within the honor/shame paradigm. This ethnography is the first on Alevi women in Turkey and argues that Alevi identity is complex, diverse and rich in its theory and practice.
Hence, while rural Alevi women subscribe to traditional conservative views about women's status in the family, these ideas are rapidly changing within an urban environment, where many are compelled to work as domestic servants and in other low paid jobs. Alevi women are not required to wear a headscarf or other bodily coverings. According to Kilic this is because Alevi identity is very much focused on the internal rather than the external representation and covering women's hair or concealing the female body in and of itself cannot legitimize women's moral, social, political and economic worth. Thus an unveiled Alevi woman cannot impugn her honour or her communities. Thus Alevi women's bodies are what Kilic calls paradoxically 'neutral' and acts as an "ideology of difference."
Relations with other Muslim groups
Alevism is a classified as as sect of Shi‘a Islam, as Alevis accept Twelver Shi‘a beliefs about Ali and the Twelve Imams, and Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini decreed Alevis to be part of the Shi'a fold in the 1970s.
But Alevi philosophy, customs, and rituals are significantly different than those of Twelver Shi'as in Iraq and Iran. According to more orthodox Muslims, Alevis are labeled as "ghulat" groups, since Alevis praise Ali beyond what mainstream Shi‘ites or Sunnis would allow. He and Muhammad are likened to the two sides of a coin, or the two halves of an apple. Some even speak of a trinity of God, Muhammad, and Ali.
Despite this essentially Shi‘i orientation, much of Alevism's mystical language is inspired by Sufi traditions. For example, the Alevi concept of God is derived from the philosophy of Ibn Arabi and involves a chain of emanation from God, to spiritual man, earthly man, animals, plants, and minerals. The goal of spiritual life is to follow this path in the reverse direction, to unity with God, or Haqq (Reality, Truth). From the highest perspective, all is God (see Wahdat-ul-Wujood). Alevis admire Mansur Al-Hallaj, a 10th century Sufi who was accused of blasphemy and subsequently executed in Baghdad for saying “I am Truth” (Ana al-Haqq).
Relations with Sunnis
The relationship between Alevis and Sunnis is one of mutual suspicion and prejudice dating back to the Ottoman period. Sunnis have accused Alevis of heresy, heterodoxy, rebellion, betrayal and immorality. Alevis, on the other hand, have argued that the original Quran does not demand five prayers, nor mosque attendance, nor pilgrimage, and that the Sunnis distorted early Islam by omitting, misinterpreting, or changing important passages of the original Quran, especially those dealing with Ali and ritual practice.
Alevis see Sunni narrowmindedness as originating in Arabia and as contrary to the Turkish national character. Some Alevis believe Sunnah and Hadith were Arab elite innovations, created to ensure Arab dominance of Islam and to enslave the masses through manipulation. Sunnism, according to the Alevis, is not true Islam but an aberration that by its strict legalism opposes free and independent thought and is seen as reactionary, bigoted, fanatic, and antidemocratic. Alevis believe Sunni nationalism is intolerant, domineering, and unwilling to recognize Alevi uniqueness.
In today's political arena Alevis see themselves as a counterforce to Sunni fundamentalism in Turkey. Alevis, who have a great interest in blocking the rising fundamentalist influence, are the main allies of the democratic secularists, and are also searching for alliances with moderate Sunnis against the extremists. They are demanding that the state recognize Alevism as an official Islamic community equal to, but different from, Sunnism. As of today the Presidency of Religious Affairs (Diyanet) only represents and promotes Sunni Islam based on the Hanafi school of law, and does not recognise Alevis.
There is some tension between folk tradition Alevism and the Bektashi Order, which is a Sufi order founded on Alevi beliefs. In certain Turkish communities other Sufi orders ( the Halveti-Jerrahi and some of the Rifa'i) have incorporated significant Alevi influence.
- Qizilbash (Kizilbash)
- ^ a b From the introduction of Syncretistic Religious Communities in the Near East edited by her, B. Kellner-Heinkele, & A. Otter-Beaujean. Leiden: Brill, 1997.
- ^ http://books.google.dk/books?id=Ixl3NcvAixAC&pg=PA67&lpg=PA67&dq=alawi+accent&source=bl&ots=rpdHtmkAUU&sig=Z5XEkIT_Af1iDbRHFcTeAjyK6I4&hl=da&ei=rK2eTsekFfL74QS55dylCQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=3&ved=0CDAQ6AEwAg#v=onepage&q=alevi&f=false
- ^ bar-Asher, Meier; Aryeh Kofsky (2002). The Nusayrī-‘Alawī Religion: An Enquiry into its Theology and Liturgy. Jerusalem Series on Religion and Culture. 1. Boston: Brill. pp. 1. http://books.google.com/books?id=2bli4DyuHRIC&pg=RA1-PA5&vq=%22Extremist+Shiites%22&cad=0_1#PRA1-PR12-IA1,M1.
- ^ Jack David Eller,(1999), From culture to ethnicity to conflict, p.148
- ^ Structure and Function in Turkish Society. Isis Press, 2006, p. 81).
- ^ From his Turkish Alevis Today.
- ^ "The Alevi of Anatolia," 1995.
- ^ Press and Information Office — Turkish Press
- ^ "Türkiye'de 10 Milyon Alevi Var" Alevionline Alevi Haber Sitesi, Haberler, Son Dakika, Güncel, Siyaset, Politika, Alevi Haberleri
- ^ Bilici, F: "The Function of Alevi-Bektashi Theology in Modern Turkey", seminar. Swedish Research Institute, 1996
- ^ The Kurds: a concise handbook, p. 143
- ^ The Mythological Trinity or Triad Osiris, Horus and Isis, Wikicommons
- ^ [Manfred Lurker, Lexikon der Götter und Symbole der alten Ägypter, Scherz 1998, p. 214f
- ^ These and many other quotations may be found in John Shindeldecker's Turkish Alevis Today.
- ^ Also see, Öztürk, ibid, pp. 78-81. In the old days, marrying a Sünni [Yezide kuşak çözmek] was also accepted as an offense that led to the state of düşkün. See Alevi Buyruks
- ^ Kristina Kehl-Bordrogi reports this among the Tahtacı. See her article "The significance of musahiplik among the Alevis" in Synchronistic Religious Communities in the Near East (co-edited by her, with B. Kellner-Heinkele & A. Otter-Beaujean), Brill 1997, p. 131 ff.
- ^ Krisztina Kehl-Bodrogi. 1988. Die Kizilbash/Aleviten, pp. 182-204.
- ^ See again "The significance of musahiplik among the Alevis" in Synchronistic Religious Communities in the Near East (co-edited by her, with B. Kellner-Heinkele & A. Otter-Beaujean), Brill 1997, p. 131 ff.
- ^ Religious practices in the Turco-Iranian World, 2005.
- ^ So argues Ali Yaman in "Kizilbash Alevi Dedes"
- ^ See Martin Stokes' study.
- ^ Turkish Alevis Today. John Shindeldecker.
- ^ Miller, Tracy, ed. (October 2009) (PDF), Mapping the Global Muslim Population: A Report on the Size and Distribution of the World’s Muslim Population, Pew Research Center, http://pewforum.org/newassets/images/reports/Muslimpopulation/Muslimpopulation.pdf, retrieved 2009-10-08
- ^ Nasr, V: "The Shia Revival," page 1. Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc, 2006
- ^ Karin Vorhoff. 1995. Zwischen Glaube, Nation und neuer Gemeinschaft: Alevitische Identitat in der Türkei der Gegenwart, pp. 107-108.
- ^ Karin Vorhoff. 1995. Zwischen Glaube, Nation und neuer Gemeinschaft: Alevitische Identitat in der Türkei der Gegenwart, pp. 95-96.
- ^ Ataseven, I: "The Alevi-Bektasi Legacy: Problems of Acquisition and Explanation", page 1. Coronet Books Inc, 1997
- General introductions
- Engin, Ismail & Franz, Erhard (2000). Aleviler / Alewiten. Cilt 1 Band: Kimlik ve Tarih / Identität und Geschichte. Hamburg: Deutsches Orient Institut (Mitteilungen Band 59/2000). ISBN 3-89173-059-4
- Engin, Ismail & Franz, Erhard (2001). Aleviler / Alewiten. Cilt 2 Band: İnanç ve Gelenekler / Glaube und Traditionen. Hamburg: Deutsches Orient Institut (Mitteilungen Band 60/2001). ISBN 3-89173-061-6
- Engin, Ismail & Franz, Erhard (2001). Aleviler / Alewiten. Cilt 3 Band: Siyaset ve Örgütler / Politik und Organisationen. Hamburg: Deutsches Orient Institut (Mitteilungen Band 61/2001). ISBN 3-89173-062-4
- Kehl-Bodrogi, Krisztina (1992). Die Kizilbas/Aleviten. Untersuchungen uber eine esoterische Glaubensgemeinschaft in Anatolien. Die Welt des Islams, (New Series), Vol. 32, No. 1.
- Kitsikis, Dimitri (1999). Multiculturalism in the Ottoman Empire : The Alevi Religious and Cultural Community, in P. Savard & B. Vigezzi eds. Multiculturalism and the History of International Relations Milano: Edizioni Unicopli.
- Kjeilen, Tore (undated). "Alevism," in the (online) Encyclopedia of the Orient.
- Shankland, David (2003). The Alevis in Turkey: The Emergence of a Secular Islamic Tradition. Curzon Press.
- Shindeldecker, John (1996). Turkish Alevis Today. Istanbul: Sahkulu.
- White, Paul J., & Joost Jongerden (eds.) (2003). Turkey’s Alevi Enigma: A Comprehensive Overview. Leiden: Brill.
- Yaman, Ali & Aykan Erdemir (2006). Alevism-Bektashism: A Brief Introduction, London: England Alevi Cultural Centre & Cem Evi. ISBN 975-98065-3-3
- Zeidan, David (1999) "The Alevi of Anatolia." Middle East Review of International Affairs 3/4.
- Kurdish Alevis
- Bumke, Peter (1979). "Kizilbaş-Kurden in Dersim (Tunceli, Türkei). Marginalität und Häresie." Anthropos 74, 530-548.
- Gezik, Erdal (2000), Etnik Politik Dinsel Sorunlar Baglaminda Alevi Kurtler, Ankara.
- Van Bruinessen, Martin (1997). "Aslını inkar eden haramzadedir! The Debate on the Kurdish Ethnic Identity of the Kurdish Alevis." In K. Kehl-Bodrogi, B. Kellner-Heinkele, & A. Otter-Beaujean (eds), Syncretistic Religious Communities in the Near East (Leiden: Brill).
- Van Bruinessen, Martin (1996). Kurds, Turks, and the Alevi revival in Turkey. Middle East Report, No. 200, pp. 7–10. (NB: The online version is expanded from its original publication.)
- White, Paul J. (2003), “The Debate on the Identity of ‘Alevi Kurds’.” In: Paul J. White/Joost Jongerden (eds.) Turkey’s Alevi Enigma: A Comprehensive Overview. Leiden: Brill, pp. 17–32.
- Alevi / Bektashi history
- Birge, John Kingsley (1937). The Bektashi order of dervishes, London and Hartford.
- Brown, John (1927), The Darvishes of Oriental Spiritualism.
- Küçük, Hülya (2002) The Roles of the Bektashis in Turkey’s National Struggle. Leiden: Brill.
- Mélikoff, Irène (1998). Hadji Bektach: Un mythe et ses avatars. Genèse et évolution du soufisme populaire en Turquie. Leiden: Islamic History and Civilization, Studies and Texts, volume 20, ISBN 90-04-10954-4.
- Shankland, David (1994). “Social Change and Culture: Responses to Modernization in an Alevi Village in Anatolia.”In C.N. Hann, ed., When History Accelerates: Essays on Rapid Social Change, Complexity, and Creativity. London: Athlone Press.
- Yaman, Ali (undated). "Kizilbash Alevi Dedes." (Based on his MA thesis for Istanbul University.)
- Ghulat sects in general
- Halm, H. (1982). Die Islamische Gnosis: Die extreme Schia und die Alawiten. Zurich.
- Krisztina Kehl-Bodrogi, Krisztina, & Barbara Kellner-Heinkele, Anke Otter-Beaujean, eds. (1997) Syncretistic Religious Communities in the Near East. Leiden: Brill, pp. 11-18.
- Moosa, Matti (1988). Extremist Shiites: The Ghulat Sects, Syracuse University Press.
- Van Bruinessen, Martin (2005). "Religious practices in the Turco-Iranian world: continuity and change." French translation published as: "Les pratiques religieuses dans le monde turco-iranien: changements et continuités", Cahiers d'Études sur la Méditerranée Orientale et le Monde Turco-Iranien, no. 39-40, 101-121.
- Alevi Identity
- Erdemir, Aykan (2005). "Tradition and Modernity: Alevis' Ambiguous Terms and Turkey's Ambivalent Subjects", Middle Eastern Studies, 2005, vol.41, no.6, pp. 937–951.
- Koçan, Gürcan/Öncü, Ahmet (2004) “Citizen Alevi in Turkey: Beyond Confirmation and Denial.” Journal of Historical Sociology, 17/4, pp. 464–489.
- Olsson, Tord & Elizabeth Özdalga/Catharina Raudvere, eds. (1998). Alevi Identity: Cultural, Religious and Social Perspectives. Istanbul: Swedish Research Institute.
- Stokes, Martin (1996). “Ritual, Identity and the State: An Alevi (Shi’a) Cem Ceremony.”In Kirsten E. Schulze et al. (eds.), Nationalism, Minorities and Diasporas: Identities and Rights in the Middle East, , pp. 194-196.
- Vorhoff, Karin (1995). Zwischen Glaube, Nation und neuer Gemeinschaft: Alevitische Identität in der Türkei der Gegenwart. Berlin.
- Alevism in Europe
- Geaves, Ron (2003) “Religion and Ethnicity: Community Formation in the British Alevi Community.” Koninklijke Brill NV 50, pp. 52– 70.
- Kosnick, Kira (2004) “‘Speaking in One’s Own Voice’: Representational Strategies of Alevi Turkish Migrants on Open-Access Television in Berlin.” Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 30/5, pp. 979-994.
- Massicard, Elise (2003) “Alevist Movements at Home and Abroad: Mobilization Spaces and Disjunction.” New Perspective on Turkey, 28, pp. 163–188.
- Rigoni, Isabelle (2003) “Alevis in Europe: A Narrow Path towards Visibility.” In: Paul J. White/Joost Jongerden (eds.) Turkey’s Alevi Enigma: A Comprehensive Overview, Leiden: Brill, pp. 159–173.
- Sökefeld, Martin (2002) “Alevi Dedes in the German Diaspora: The Transformation of a Religious Institution.” Zeitschrift für Ethnologie, 127, pp. 163–189.
- Sökefeld, Martin (2004) “Alevis in Germany and the Question of Integration” paper presented at the Conference on the Integration of Immigrants from Turkey in Austria, Germany and Holland, Boğaziçi University, Istanbul, February 27–28, 2004.
- Sökefeld, Martin & Suzanne Schwalgin (2000). “Institutions and their Agents in Diaspora: A Comparison of Armenians in Athens and Alevis in Germany.” Paper presented at the 6th European Association of Social Anthropologist Conference, Krakau.
- Thomä-Venske, Hanns (1990). “The Religious Life of Muslim in Berlin.” In: Thomas Gerholm/Yngve Georg Lithman (eds.) The New Islamic Presence in Western Europe, New York: Mansell, pp. 78–87.
- Wilpert, Czarina (1990) “Religion and Ethnicity: Orientations, Perceptions and Strategies among Turkish Alevi and Sunni Migrants in Berlin.” In: Thomas Gerholm/Yngve Georg Lithman (eds.) The New Islamic Presence in Western Europe. New York: Mansell, pp. 88–106.
- Zirh, Besim Can (2008) “Euro-Alevis: From Gasterbeiter to Transnational Community.” In: Anghel, Gerharz, Rescher and Salzbrunn (eds.) The Making of World Society: Perspectives from Transnational Research. Transcript; 103-130.
- Vorhoff, Karin. (1998), “Academic and Journalistic Publications on the Alevi and Bektashi of Turkey.” In: Tord Olsson/Elizabeth Özdalga/Catharina Raudvere (eds.) Alevi Identity: Cultural, Religious and Social Perspectives, Istanbul: Swedish Research Institute, pp. 23–50.
- Turkish-language works
- Ata, Kelime. (2007), Alevilerin İlk Siyasal Denemesi: (Türkiye Birlik Partisi) (1966–1980). Ankara: Kelime Yayınevi.
- Aydın, Ayhan. (2008), Abidin Özgünay: Yazar Yayıncı ve Cem Dergisi Kurucusu. İstanbul: Niyaz Yayınları.
- Balkız, Ali. (1999), Sivas’tan Sydney’e Pir Sultan. Ankara: İtalik.
- Balkız, Ali. (2002), Pir Sultan’da Birlik Mücadelesi (Hızır Paşalar’a Yanıt). Ankara: İtalik.
- Bilgöl, Hıdır Ali. (1996), Aleviler ve Canlı Fotoğraflar, Alev Yayınları.
- Coşkun, Zeki (1995) Aleviler, Sünniler ve … Öteki Sivas, Istanbul: İletişim Yayınları.
- Dumont, Paul. (1997), “Günümüz Türkiye’sinde Aleviliğin Önemi” içinde Aynayı Yüzüme Ali Göründü Gözüme: Yabancı Araştırmacıların Gözüyle Alevilik, editör: İlhan Cem Erseven. İsntabul: Ant, 141-161.
- Engin, Havva ve Engin, Ismail (2004). Alevilik. Istanbul: Kitap Yayınevi.
- Gül, Zeynel. (1995), Yol muyuz Yolcu muyuz? İstanbul: Can Yayınları.
- Gül, Zeynel. (1999), Dernekten Partiye: Avrupa Alevi Örgütlenmesi. Ankara: İtalik.
- Güler, Sabır. (2008), Aleviliğin Siyasal Örgütlenmesi: Modernleşme, Çözülme ve Türkiye Birlik Partisi. Ankara: Dipnot.
- İrat, Ali Murat. (2008), Devletin Bektaşi Hırkası / Devlet, Aleviler ve Ötekiler. İstanbul: Chiviyazıları.
- Kaleli, Lütfü. (2000), “1964-1997 Yılları Arasında Alevi Örgütleri” içinde Aleviler/Alewiten: Kimlik ve Tarih/ Indentität und Geschichte, editörler: İsmail Engin ve Erhard Franz. Hamburg: Deutsches Orient-Institut, 223-241.
- Kaleli, Lütfü. (2000), Alevi Kimliği ve Alevi Örgütlenmeri. İstanbul: Can Yayınları.
- Kaplan, İsmail. (2000), “Avrupa’daki Alevi Örgütlenmesine Bakış” içinde Aleviler/Alewiten: Kimlik ve Tarih/ Indentität und Geschichte, editörler: İsmail Engin ve Erhard Franz. Hamburg: Deutsches Orient-Institut, 241-260.
- Kaplan, İsmail. (2009), Alevice: İnancımız ve Direncimiz. Köln: AABF Yayınları.
- Kocadağ, Burhan. (1996), Alevi Bektaşi Tarihi. İstanbul: Can Yayınları.
- Massicard, Elise. (2007), Alevi Hareketinin Siyasallaşması. İstanbul: İletişim.
- Melikoff, Irene. (1993), Uyur İdik Uyardılar. İstanbul: Cem Yayınevi.
- Okan, Murat. (2004), Türkiye’de Alevilik / Antropolojik Bir Yaklaşım. Ankara: İmge.
- Özerol, Süleyman. (2009), Hasan Nedim Şahhüseyinoğlu. Ankara: Ürün.
- Şahhüseyinoğlu, H. Nedim. (2001), Hızır Paşalar: Bir İhracın Perde Arkası. Ankara: İtalik.
- Şahhüseyinoğlu, Nedim. (1997), Pir Sultan Kültür Derneği’nin Demokrasi Laiklik ve Özgürlük Mücadelesi. Ankara: PSAKD Yayınları.
- Şahhüseyinoğlu, Nedim. (2001), Alevi Örgütlerinin Tarihsel Süreci. Ankara: İtalik.
- Salman, Meral. 2006, Müze Duvarlarına Sığmayan Dergah: Alevi – Bektaşi Kimliğinin Kuruluş Sürecinde Hacı Bektaş Veli Anma Görenleri. Ankara: Kalan.
- Saraç, Necdet. (2010), Alevilerin Siyasal Tarihi. İstanbul: Cem.
- Şener, Cemal ve Miyase İlknur. (1995), Şeriat ve Alevilik: Kırklar Meclisi’nden Günümüze Alevi Örgütlenmesi. İstanbul: Ant.
- Tosun, Halis. (2002), Alevi Kimliğiyle Yaşamak. İstanbul: Can Yayınları.
- Vergin, Nur (2000, ), Din, Toplum ve Siyasal Sistem, İstanbul: Bağlam.
- Yaman, Ali (2000) "Anadolu Aleviliği’nde Ocak Sistemi Ve Dedelik Kurumu.” Alevi Bektaşi.
- Zırh, Besim Can. (2005), “Avro-Aleviler: Ziyaretçi İşçilikten Ulus-aşırı Topluluğa” Kırkbudak 2: 31-58.
- Zırh, Besim Can. (2006), “Avrupa Alevi Konfederasyonu Turgut Öker ile Görüşme” Kırkbudak 2: 51-71.
- www.alevikonseyi.com Turkish
- www.alevitentum.de German
- alevi-fuaf.com - alevi-france.com - alevi-fransa.com Official Sites The Federation of the Union of Alevis in France Turkish / French
- Alevi Yolu Internet Gazetesi Turkish only.
- Alevi Bektasi Turkish / English. Site edited by Alevi scholar Ali Yaman and others. Much reference material available here.
- Aleviweb Turkish only.
- Turkish Cem Vakfi Turkish only.
- Turkish Aleviyol Gazate Turkish only. Devoted to Tahtaci subgroup?
- Alevi Bektaşi Research Site Turkish/English.
- Hacı Bektaş Veli Araştırma Sitesi Turkish only. Site from Gazi Üniversitesi (University). Focuses on Hajji Bektash, some Alevi discussion.
- Karaca Ahmet Turkish only. A well-known Alevi center in Istanbul.
- Tahtacilar Türkmenler Devoted to a subgroup within Alevism, the Tahtaci or "Woodcutters."
- Alevi Linkleri (Alevilerin Sesi) Turkish only.
- European & German Alevi Federation German /Turkish.
- Alevi.Org - Alevi Portal ve Forum Turkish only.
- Biggest Alevi and Alevism Board Turkish only.
- Americans Alevi and Alevism Board English/Turkish .
- A radio station for alevi music
- Alevi Birlik Forumu , www.alevibirlikforumu.com
- Alevis English
- Alevi Community Page Turkish
- Semah from region of Sivas
- Semah during Abdal Musa cemi
- Semah from a TV show
- Semah - several samples
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