12th Annual Smithsonian.com Photo Contest
8/9/2014 TUNCELI, TURKEY. An Alevi shrine at the mountain area of Dersim, where worshippers light candles and offer goat or sheep horns to their saints. For thousands of years, the Alevi had to hide their identity as they've been oppressed by the other religions they had to coexist with. Even today, Alevism is not recognised as a religion in many countries and the Alevis are often considered to be Muslims.
After Christians and Yazidis, Alevis fear they're next in ISIS's long list of victims. Alevi are Turkey's biggest religious and cultural minority, as they make 10% of the population. Despite they're so big, they're not recognised by the state, while they've been oppressed for centuries by both larger religions and had to hide their religious practices.
But Alevis have also to deal with an inside enemy, the country's Prime Minister, Tayyip Erdogan, who views them as terrorists. According to a Turkish police report, last year, while 8 of the 9 people that died during the antigovernment protests died were Alevi.
© Nikos Pilos.
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||Culture and the Arts
||Nov. 28, 2014, 12:31 p.m.