Turkey: Information on Alevi organizations outside of Turkey, including whether they issue letters that attest that bearers are Alevis (2016-November 2018) [TUR106207.E]

Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Ottawa

For information on the principles and historic religious origins of the Alevi faith, see Response to Information Requests TUR43515 of April 2005, TUR102821 of May 2008; TUR104076 of June 2012, TUR104391 of April 2013, and TUR106206 of December 2018.

1. Alevi Organizations Outside Turkey

According to sources, Alevi advocacy and support organizations are present outside of Turkey, including in Germany, France (Eissenstat 20 Nov. 2018; Postdoctoral Fellow 26 Nov. 2018), and the United Kingdom (Postdoctoral Fellow 26 Nov. 2018). In a telephone interview with the Research Directorate, Howard Eissenstat, Associate Professor of Middle East history at St. Lawrence University and Nonresident Senior Fellow at the Project on Middle East Democracy (POMED) [1], explained that Alevi organizations are "largely" cultural organizations and also engage in educational activities (Eissenstat 20 Nov. 2018). In correspondence with the Research Directorate, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Oxford specializing on Turkey stated that Alevi organizations advocate for "equal citizenship rights and the right to [a] secular education" (Postdoctoral Fellow 26 Nov. 2018). In correspondence with the Research Directorate, the President of the Alevi-Bektashi Foundation of America [2] explained, in response to a question about Alevi advocacy and support organizations around the world, that "[t]here is no real Alevi advocacy group" (Alevi-Bektashi Foundation of America 22 Nov. 2018). The same source indicated that the Alevi organizations that exist "generally" focus on promoting Alevi culture (Alevi-Bektashi Foundation of America 22 Nov. 2018).

Sources indicate the following Alevi organizations outside of Turkey:

  • Alevi Federation of Australia (Corporate Europe Observatory and LobbyControl 19 Mar. 2018; Alevi Federation of Australia n.d.);
  • Austria Alevi Federation (Alevitische Glaubensgemeinschaft in Österreich) (Corporate Europe Observatory and LobbyControl 19 Mar. 2018; Alevitische Glaubensgemeinschaft in Österreich n.d.);
  • Belgium Alevi Federation (Belçika Alevi Birlikleri Federasyonu, BABF) (Corporate Europe Observatory and LobbyControl 19 Mar. 2018; BABF n.d.);
  • British [Britain] Alevi Federation (Britanya Alevi Federasyonu, BAF) (Corporate Europe Observatory and LobbyControl 19 Mar. 2018; BAF n.d.);
  • Canadian Alevi Culture Centre [Kanada Alevi Kültür Merkezi] (Corporate Europe Observatory and LobbyControl 19 Mar. 2018; Canadian Alevi Culture Centre n.d.);
  • Denmark Alevi Federation (Corporate Europe Observatory and LobbyControl 19 Mar. 2018);
  • European Alevi Unions Confederation [European Alevi Union, European Alevi Confederation, Avrupa Alevi Birlikleri Federasyonu] (Hürriyet Daily News 15 Nov. 2016; Corporate Europe Observatory and LobbyControl 19 Mar. 2018; Karagöz 2017, 79);
  • European Alevi Women's Federation (Corporate Europe Observatory and LobbyControl 19 Mar. 2018);
  • French Alevi Federation [Fédération union des Alévis en France (FUAF), Fransa Alevi Birlikleri Federasyonu] (Corporate Europe Observatory and LobbyControl 19 Mar. 2018; FUAF n.d.);
  • Italy Alevi Federation (Corporate Europe Observatory and LobbyControl 19 Mar. 2018);
  • Netherlands Alevi Federation (Corporate Europe Observatory and LobbyControl 19 Mar. 2018);
  • North Cyprus Alevi Federation (Corporate Europe Observatory and LobbyControl 19 Mar. 2018);
  • Romania Alevi Federation [Romanya Alevi Kültür Merkezi] (Corporate Europe Observatory and LobbyControl 19 Mar. 2018; Romanya Alevi Kültür Merkezi n.d.);
  • Sweden Alevi Federation (Corporate Europe Observatory and LobbyControl 19 Mar. 2018);
  • Switzerland Alevi Federation [Föderation der Alevitischen Gemeinden in der Schweiz (FAGS)] (Corporate Europe Observatory and LobbyControl 19 Mar. 2018; FAGS n.d.);
  • Pir Sultan Abdal Cultural Associates USA (Corporate Europe Observatory and LobbyControl 19 Mar. 2018; Pir Sultan Abdal Cultural Associates USA n.d.).

According to sources, the European Alevi Unions Confederation is an umbrella organization for Alevi organizations across Europe (Corporate Europe Observatory and LobbyControl 19 Mar. 2018; Karagöz 2017, 79).

2. Letters

Information on letters issued by Alevi organizations outside of Turkey that attest that bearers are Alevis was scarce among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate within the time constraints of this Response.

According to the President of the Alevi-Bektashi Foundation of America, there are no Alevi organizations that issue documentation attesting that someone is Alevi (Alevi-Bektashi Foundation of America 22 Nov. 2018). Similarly, noting that there was no Alevi organizations that issue such documentation, the Postdoctoral Fellow explained that there is no clerical authority that can issue letters attesting that someone is Alevi (Postdoctoral Fellow 26 Nov. 2018). Eissenstat stated that he is not aware that Alevi organizations issue letters attesting that someone is an Alevi (Eissenstat 20 Nov. 2018). However, in correspondence with the Research Directorate, the Chair of the British Alevi Federation stated that there are Alevi federations and organizations that are able to provide letters attesting that someone is an Alevi (BAF 9 Dec. 2018). The same source explained that the person would have to share their "identity details," allowing the organization to use this as a "reference to investigate the background of the person" (BAF 9 Dec. 2018). Further and corroborating information could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate within the time constraints of this Response.

For information on letters issued by the Canadian Alevi Cultural Centre in Toronto, which attest that bearers are Alevis, see Response to Information Request TUR105362 of January 2016.

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim for refugee protection. Please find below the list of sources consulted in researching this Information Request.

Notes

[1] The Project on Middle East Democracy (POMED) is a Washington DC-based "nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to examining how genuine democracies can develop in the Middle East and how the U.S. can best support that process. Through dialogue, research, and advocacy, [POMED] work[s] to strengthen the constituency for U.S. policies that peacefully support democratic reform in the Middle East" (POMED n.d.).

[2] The Alevi-Bektashi Foundation of America is a US-based organization that is "committed to serve [the] Alevi-Bektashi community by establishing resources and the environment to promote education, [the] exchange of information, opinions and expertise in Alevi-Bektashi and Anatolian culture" (Alevi-Bektashi Foundation of America n.d.).

References

Alevi-Bektashi Foundation of America. 22 November 2018. Correspondence from the President to the Research Directorate.

Alevi-Bektashi Foundation of America. N.d. "About Us." [Accessed 22 Nov. 2018]

Alevi Federation of Australia. N.d. "Alevi Federation of Australia." [Accessed 23 Nov. 2018]

Alevitische Glaubensgemeinschaft in Österreich. N.d. "Alevitische Glaubensgemeinschaft in Österreich." [Accessed 23 Nov. 2018]

Belçika Alevi Birlikleri Federasyonu (BABF). N.d. "Belçika Alevi Birlikleri Federasyonu." [Accessed 23 Nov. 2018]

British Alevi Federation (BAF). 9 December 2018. Correspondence from the Chair to the Research Directorate.

British Alevi Federation (BAF). N.d. "Britanya Alevi Federasyonu." [Accessed 23 Nov. 2018]

Canadian Alevi Culture Centre. N.d. "Kanada Alevi Kültür Merkezi - Canadian Alevi Culture Centre." [Accessed 23 Nov. 2018]

Corporate Europe Observatory and LobbyControl. 19 March 2018. "European Alevi Union (EAU)." [Accessed 23 Nov. 2018]

Eissenstat, Howard. 20 November 2018. Telephone interview with the Research Directorate.

Fédération union des Alévis en France (FUAF). N.d. "Fransa Alevi Birlikleri Federasyonu - Fédération union des Alévis en France (FUAF)." [Accessed 23 Nov. 2018]

Föderation der Alevitischen Gemeinden in der Schweiz (FAGS). N.d. "Herzlich Willkommen." [Accessed 23 Nov. 2018]

Hurriyet Daily News. 15 November 2016. "Alevis in Europe Suspends Ties with Umbrella Organization." [Accessed 30 Oct. 2018]

Karagöz, Hüseyin Mirza. 2017. "Alevism in Turkey: Tensions and Patterns of Migration." Alevis in Europe : Voices of Migration, Culture and Identity. Edited by Tözün Issa. New York: Routledge.

Pir Sultan Abdal Cultural Associates USA. N.d. "Pir Sultan Abdal Cultural Associates USA." [Accessed 23 Nov. 2018]

Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Oxford. 26 November 2018. Correspondence with the Research Directorate.

Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Oxford. 22 November 2018. Telephone interview with the Research Directorate.

Project on Middle East Democracy (POMED). N.d. "Mission Statement." [Accessed 20 Nov. 2018]

Romanya Alevi Kültür Merkezi. N.d. "AleviRo." [Accessed 23 Nov. 2018]

Additional Sources Consulted

Oral sources: Academics specializing in human rights issues in Turkey; Alevi Federation of Australia; Alevitische Culturele Vereniging Den Haag; Alevitische Gemeinde Deutschland; Alevitische Glaubensgemeinschaft in Österreich; Canadian Alevi Cultural Center; European Alevi Youth Federation; Fédération union des Alévis en France; Human Rights Watch.

Internet sites, including: Amnesty International; ecoi.net; The Guardian; Human Rights Watch; Minority Rights Group International; UN – Refworld.