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Political Preferences of the Turkish Electorate: Reflections of an Alevi–Sunni Cleavage

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This essay aims to develop an index of Alevi orientations for the Turkish electorate based on data collected in a post-November 2002 election survey during January–February 2003, conducted with a nationwide representative sample of voters. Series of validity checks yield encouraging results and show that Alevi versus Sunni/Hanefi piousness indicators and their attitudinal reflections are very much in contrast to one another. On the political scene, the secular versus pro-Islamist party divide is also linked to the observed Alevi–Sunni divide. The essay concludes by underlining the remaining challenges in measuring the sectarian differences in the context of Turkey and evaluating the implications of the empirical observations concerning the sectarian divide in Turkish politics.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Sabancı University, Istanbul, Turkey

Publication date: June 1, 2005

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