Examining the Condition of Alevis in Turkey in Light of the Freedom of Religion and Conscience and Religious Minority Rights in International Law

Document Type: Research Paper


Institute of Social Sciences, Ankara University, Ankara, Turkey


Freedom of religion and conscience is regarded among one of the human rights in international documents signed or declared after the World War II. In this paper I investigate from a legal perspective whether the freedom of religion and conscience and religious minority rights that Alevis enjoy in Turkey are in line with the standards in relevant international documents. Therefore I firstly examine the relevant articles in international documents on the freedom of religion and conscience and religious minorities rights such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948), International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1966), the UN Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief (1981), Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities (1998), and a prominent ruling of the European Court of Human Rights. Then, in light of these documents, I critically assess the condition of Alevis in Turkey from a legal perspective. I eventually concluded that Turkish laws and legislation, as well as official practices in Turkey, fail in three major areas to meet the standards of freedom of religion and religious minority rights in international documents.