Mehmet Ertan / The Circuitous Politicization of Alevism: The Affiliation between the Alevis and the Left Politics (1960-1980)

An abstract of the Thesis of Mehmet Ertan for the degree of Master of Arts from the Atatürk Institute for Modern Turkish History to be taken June 2008

The Circuitous Politicization of Alevism: The Affiliation between the Alevis and the Left Politics (1960-1980)

This study scrutinizes the affiliation between the Alevis and the left-wing political movements within the context of the 1960s and 1970s. These years witnessed the dissolution of traditional Alevism, which had been based on rural/isolated life, as a result of urbanization. Turkey also experienced a rapid social and physical mobilization in these years. The social dynamics of Turkey in the 1960s and 1970s associated the dissolution of the archaic Alevism with the social mobilization of Turkey within the context of urbanization; therefore, the Alevis, who became more visible in the newly urbanizing environment, mainly remained a part of left-wing politics in that period. The left politics enabled Alevis to be integrated into the modern life and the centralized state apparatus during the dissolution process of traditional Alevism. In this regard, this thesis examines why Alevis politically moved towards the left movements politically during this time period. The affiliation between the Alevis and left wing movements is investigated in two dimensions. On the one hand, the Alevis’ relation with the Republican People’s Party on the basis of Alevis’ satisfaction with the secularist policies of the early Republican governments and the populist discourse of Bülent Ecevit are discussed. On the other hand, the affiliation between the Alevis and the radical socialist movements within the framework of the overlaps between the implications of nomadic characteristic of the archaic Alevism and the actual needs of the socialist movements of the era are examined. Moreover, the Unity Party of Turkey which addressed the Alevis indirectly and the Alevis’ indifference to the UPT are investigated while inspected the affiliation between the Alevis and left politics.

Bogaziçi Üniversitesi Atatürk Ilkeleri ve Inkilap Tarihi Enstitüsü’nde Yüksek Lisans derecesi için Mehmet Ertan tarafindan Haziran 2008’te teslim edilen tezin kisa özeti

Aleviligin Örtük Politiklesmesi: Aleviler ve Sol Siyasetler arasindaki Yakinlasma (1960–1980)

Bu çalisma 1960’li ve 1970’li yillarda Aleviler ve sol siyasal hareketler arasindaki yakinlasmayi incelemektedir. Bu yillar kirsal alanlarda disa kapali bir yasam biçim üzerine temellenen geleneksel Aleviligin, kentlesme etkisiyle çözülmesine tanik oldu. Ayrica söz konusu dönemde Türkiye hizli bir fiziki ve sosyal hareketlilik yasadi. 1960’li ve 1970’li yillarin sosyal dinamikleri geleneksel Aleviligin çözülmesiyle Türkiye’nin yasadigi sosyal hareketi kesistirdi ve kentlesmenin etkisiyle toplumsal yasamda daha da görünür hale gelen Aleviler bu dönemde daha çok sol siyasetlerin içinde yer aldilar. Bu anlamda sol siyaset geleneksel yasam kosullari çözülen Alevilerin modern hayata ve merkezi devletin araçlarina entegre olmasina olanak sagladi. Bu tez söz konusu dönemde Alevilerin neden politik olarak solda konumlandigini incelemektedir. Aleviler ve sol siyasetler arasindaki iliski ise iki boyutta degerlendirilmektedir. Ilki erken cumhuriyet hükümetlerinin seküler politikalarindan duyulan memnuniyet ve Ecevit’in populist söylemi ekseninde Aleviler ve Cumhuriyet Halk Partisi arasindaki iliskidir. Digeri ise geleneksel Aleviligin göçebe özelliklerinin etkileriyle incelenen dönemin sosyalist hareketlerinin ihtiyaçlari arasindaki örtüsme ekseninde Alevilik ve radikal sosyalist örgütler arasindaki yakinlasmadir. Ayrica, Alevilere seslenen Türkiye Birlik Partisi ve Alevilerin bu partiye yönelik kayitsizliklari da, sol siyasetler ve Aleviler arasindaki iliski baglaminda incelenecektir.