Since the beginning of 1990s, Alevis (a religious community adopting heterodox interpretation of Islam in Turkey) have abandoned their accustomed silence declared that they lack of their basic rights in Turkey. The state did not stay indifferent to demands of Alevis and opened some dialogue channels one of which has been the Hacıbektaş Festival. This study intends to do critical discourse analysis (CDA) of official political speeches of two consecutive presidents of Turkish Republic (namely, Süleyman Demirel and Ahmet Necdet Sezer) aiming Alevis during the Hacıbektaş Festival. It is assumed in this article that these speeches form an important dimension of official discourse relating to Alevis. Main questions of the study can be summarized as follow: What kind of discursive regularities and discursive strategies were employed in the presidential speeches in the Hacıbektaş Festival towards Alevis? How did the presidents approach Alevis in their official statements expressed during the Hacıbektaş Festival? What kind of changes and continuities can be observed in the official stance of the presidents concerning Alevis? What are the contextual elements (both national and international) affecting content of the speeches aiming Alevis? The answers of these questions will be searched within the general framework of CDA a methodological approach developed by Teun van Dijk.
Alevis, Hacıbektaş Festival, Official Discourse, Pres