The grievances that led to protests are tied to religious and communal issues. A large percentage of the protestors come from the Alevi (Alawite) sect, which has been long aligned with secular leftist parties. The Alevis have traditionally been lower-class and socially disadvantaged and have not benefitted from the prosperity that has taken part in other parts of Istanbul and Turkey. The Alevis and the left-wing movements they support stand in staunch opposition to the conservative, Sunni-Islamist ideology endorsed by Prime Minister Erdogan.
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