THE SOCIO-SPATIAL MEANING OF CEMEVIS IN ISTANBUL’S PUBLIC SPACE


Creative Commons License

Kurtarır E.

in: The Alevis in Modern Turkey and the Diaspora Recognition, Mobilisation and Transformation, Derya Ozkul,Hege Markussen, Editor, Edinburgh University Press , Edinburgh, pp.252-271, 2022

  • Publication Type: Book Chapter / Chapter Research Book
  • Publication Date: 2022
  • Publisher: Edinburgh University Press 
  • City: Edinburgh
  • Page Numbers: pp.252-271
  • Editors: Derya Ozkul,Hege Markussen, Editor

Abstract

This chapter presents the findings of a research project called "The Istanbul Cemevis Inventory", which was conducted between March 2013 and April 2014. The project aimed to map the geography of the active cemevis in Istanbul to explore Alevis’ cultural geography in the city. The cemevi occupies a central role in the social organization and religious practices of Alevi communities. However, the lack of a legally recognized status leaves it in a state of limbo. Looking at the past and recent attempts at establishing and maintaining the existing cemevis, despite all the legal and political restraints, the chapter shows that Alevis have succeeded in changing the public space in line with their needs, at least in some districts of Istanbul, without any governmental support. This study is an attempt to explore Alevi cultural geography and cultural identity relations with their place-making experiences. This is an important case for urban diversity politics, as a spatialization process on public land. This study also aims to contribute, with its methodology and scientific approach, to both urban planning and Alevi studies literature from this perspective.