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Alevi jitters worsen in Turkey

Turkey’s Alevi community fears that the government’s ostracizing rhetoric and policies are encouraging discrimination and physical attacks.
Demonstrators set barricades on fire as they clash with riot police during a protest in the Tuzlucayir neighbourhood of Ankara September 9, 2013. Billed as a symbol of peace between two faiths, a new place of worship has turned Tuzlucayir, a poor suburb of Ankara, into a battleground and exposed wider sectarian tensions within Turkey. The project's blueprint envisages a Sunni mosque rising side by side with a new cemevi, or assembly house, to be used by Alevis, Turkey's biggest religious minority. But with

ANKARA, Turkey — In November, a petty argument on a construction site in Bolu, northwest Turkey, abruptly turned violent as several dozen stick-wielding men swarmed on a small work team. “Strike the Communist Alevis!” Huseyin Dogan heard the assailants shout before a blow to the head knocked him unconscious. Not only did their employer do nothing to protect the Alevi workers, he unceremoniously laid them off the following day.

“It was all because of our [Alevi] identity. I thought they were coming to kill us,” Dogan, told Al-Monitor by telephone after a stint in hospital with a brain injury. “It was only our third day on the job. We didn’t even know those people.”

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