Alternative Sense of Citizenship in Ardahan: the example of Koyunpınarı

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Alternative Sense of Citizenship in Ardahan: the example of Koyunpınarı

Type: Master thesis
Title: Alternative Sense of Citizenship in Ardahan: the example of Koyunpınarı
Author: Yilmaz, Gozde
Issue Date: 2015-06-15
Keywords: Religion, Islam, Alevisim in Turkey
Abstract: The Alevi community is the biggest religious minority in Turkey today. Although the Turkish state is by definition secular and laicist, it considers Sunni Islam the state’s religion and the mosque as offical worship place for all groups who describe themselves "Islamic". The Alevi religious practices which are not performed in the mosque have been weakened as a result of social differentiation and migration during the 1950’s and 1960’s which firstly occurred in the cities and later on in the villages. The demands of Democratic Party (the beginning of Multiparty system - 1946) for a more central role of religion (Sunni Islam), especially after the coup in 1980 has resulted in the construction of more and more mosques in Alevi villages, clearly designed to assimilate the Alevis in Sunni Islam. As time passed by, the Alevis got more organized after 1990s, opposition to this project increased, and most Alevis did not attend the newly built mosques which resulted in a deterioration of the relationship with the state- appointed (Sunni) imam. Contrary to many other villagers, the state-appointed Imam in Koyunpinari has a very good relationship with the villagers, of whom some even attend his Friday prayers. He has spent 23 years in Koyunpinari and does not show any intention of leaving. In 2014 the first cem-house (House of Gathering where religious ceremonies take place that has not been performed in the past 60 years in Koyunpinari) was constructed in that village after the village association in Ankara and Istanbul managed to collect enough means. This paper investigates where this sudden urge in willing to have a cem-house came from while the mosque seems to be embraced. Also it traces the development of the relationship between the Alevi community and their adhering to certain religious dogma’s, and the mosque as the most visible manifestation of Sunni Islam.
Supervisor: Kahmann, Merel
Faculty: Faculty of Humanities
Department: Middle Eastern Studies (Master)
Specialisation: Islamic Studies
ECTS Credits: 20

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