Turkey: Ethnic and religious composition of the Tunceli Region and the town of Ovacik
|Publisher||Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada|
|Author||Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada|
|Publication Date||22 March 2000|
|Citation / Document Symbol||TUR33981.E|
|Cite as||Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Turkey: Ethnic and religious composition of the Tunceli Region and the town of Ovacik, 22 March 2000, TUR33981.E, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/3ae6ad7c18.html [accessed 31 July 2015]|
|Disclaimer||This is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.|
Information on ethnic or religious demographics for the Tunceli region and the town of Ovacik is scarce among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate.
The Immigration and Nationality Directorate (IND) of the United Kingdom Home Office in its report, Turkey Country Assessment, states that "Kurds are generally located in the marginal areas between the mainly Kurdish south-east and Turkish areas of Anatolia, concentrated in Tunceli" (1999).
David McDowall, an independent specialist on Middle Eastern affairs, in a paper commissioned for the Newfoundland Legal Aid Commission in 1994, provides the following information on the ethnic composition of the Tunceli region:
The predominantly Alevi Kurdish heartland is Tunceli province in the central east rather than far east of Turkey. Significantly, it is the marginal zone where Turkish and Kurdish communities intermingle Many Alevis are unsure whether they are Turkish or Kurdish, and for many the question is irrelevant since they define themselves religiously.In some cases the younger generation has disowned the 'Turkish' identity of their parents to embrace Kurdish identity.This may be either the rediscovery of genuine Kurdish origins or sometimes a conscious identification with the largest oppressed community in Turkey (May 1994, 4).
The IND report states that Tunceli "cannot be considered a purely Alevite region" (1999). Neither the IND nor McDowall makes reference to the town of Ovacik.
This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.
Immigration and Nationality Directorate (IND), Home Office, UK. September 1999. Version 4. Turkey: Country Assessment.
McDowall, David. May 1994. Briefing Note Regarding the Current Status of Alevi Kurds. (Prepared for the Newfoundland Legal Aid Commission).
Additional Sources Consulted
Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs. Vol. 18, No. 1, 1998. H. Ayla Kilic. "Democratization, Human Rights and Ethnic Policies in Turkey." Institute of Muslim Minority Affairs.
Resource Centre Turkey country file.
World News Connection (WNC)
Internet sites including
Initiative on Conflict Resolution and Ethnicity
Minorities at Risk
Republic of Turkey
Search engines including