The Term Alevi

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An Alevi is a person who follows the faith of Alevism. As mentioned, the concept of Alevism is a broad concept covering various ethno-cultural communities, which have their own com-munal names such as Alevi, Bektashi, Kızılbaş, Tahtacı, Nusayri and Abdal, but are labelled in general with the concept of “Alevi”.

Alevis have been forced, for political reasons, to live a closed social life in rural areas for centuries and as a natural result of this condition, they fundamentally rely upon on the tradi-tions of oral accounts and their unique social institutions. The oral tradition narrates the Alevi history embedded in epic tales as its nature would suggest. The oral tradition in Alevism takes its position among the people, with sayings which are performed together with the saz (a tra-ditional music instrument), lyric togetherness and menkıbes (mythical stories). These elements contain, to a great extent, special sayings and meanings originating from the inner structure of the community.

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