In Turkey, a video has gone viral in which opponent Kemal Kilicdaroglu claims to be of the Alevi faith

In Turkey, a video has gone viral in which opponent Kemal Kilicdaroglu claims to be of the Alevi faith

Calm look, sweeping speech Kemal Kilicdaroglu, Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s main challenger in the May 14 presidential election, has fared better than the pop star by amassing more than 100 million views, all platforms combined, for his latest campaign video, posted on YouTube. before flooding social networks. This enthusiasm can be explained by the fact that the leader of the Republican People’s Party (CHP and Kemalist Opposition) is breaking a major taboo by publicly acknowledging his association with the Alevi faith.

“I think the time has come to discuss a very private and sensitive topic with you. (…) I am an Alawite, I am a sincere Muslim”He said in this speech to voters that was broadcast on April 19, the eve of the end-of-Ramadan celebration. Originally from Tunceli, a province in eastern Anatolia, the 74-year-old is a member of the Alevi community, which profess a different Islam, more equal to women – who are called to pray alongside men. , not in the mosque, but in a Simify (house of prayer) where philosophical discussions, songs and dances are part of the ritual.

Put an end to “discrimination”

Under the Ottomans as under the Republic, Turkey’s Alevis, some 5 million people out of a total population of 84 million, were always ostracized and sometimes even massacred by ultra-nationalists or by the most sectarian adherents of Islam. Sunnis who view them as heretics.

If elected, the Leader of the Opposition pledges to put an end to “discrimination”. suggested ending “Sectarian differences that made Türkiye suffer” It is a Copernican turning point in a country that suffers from divisions, the Turks against the Kurds, the Sunnis against the Alawites, and the Islamists against the secularists. Academic and writer Mehmet Altan wants to believe this. With this video, Kiliçdaroglu turns the tables. To say that it is possible to be a patriot while being an Alevi is completely new. Until now, it was understood that a good Turkish citizen is first and foremost a Sunni Muslim. This brings us back to the basics of human rights, to the idea of that origin does not matter, contrary to what many politicians in this country suggest.”

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“Turkish Gandhi,” as his supporters call him, wants to unite. The future he paints is peaceful. “It will not be a question of identities, but of accomplishments. We will no longer talk about separation, but about shared dreams. Will you be with me in this time of change?”

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