"Asia and Africa today"
- is a scientificl monthly journal (in Russian)
of the Russian Academy of Sciences
Included in Russian Science Citation Index on
WoS platform, and EBSCO Publishing.
ISSN 0321-5075
Published since July 1957.

"Asia and Africa today" № 3 2020

Title ALEVIS vs. ALAWITES IN TURKEY: FROM THE GENERAL TO THE SPECIFIC (based on field studies in Turkey)



Daria V. ZHIGULSKAYA, PhD (History), Associate Professor, Institute of Asian and African countries, Moscow State University ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )


  In view of its geographical location and the ethnic, religious and cultural heterogeneity of its population, modern Turkey is of special interest both to orientalists and to a wide range of people interested in global political and social affairs. In this context, the subject of Turkish Alevism and Turkish Alevis has acquired particular relevance in recent years. However, Turkey’s Alevis are often confused with the ‘Alawites (Nusayrîs) of Syria, leading to a gross distortion of the concept of Turkish Alevism. The ‘Alawites (Nusayrîs) are concentrated mainly in Syria, where they constitute around 12% of the country’s population, though there is a small community of approximately 350,000 people in Turkey. They live predominantly in the southern provinces of Hatay, Adana and Mersin, and are ethnic Arabs.

    This paper is an outcome of the author’s PhD dissertation on the Turkish Alevism and is based on the findings carried out in the town of Haccıbektaş and in Hatay province and aims to highlight the regional aspects of the Alevi and ‘Alawite (Nusayrî) communities in Turkey (the ‘Alawites of Syria are not reviewed here). The focus is on the characteristics of the two faiths, their forms of worship and the traditions of social organization within the two communities. The similarities between the two faiths are summarized and their distinctive features are highlited.

Keywords: Alevis, ‘Alawites (Nusayrîs), Islam, Sufism, Turkey
Pages 26-33