Popularity of healers challenges Turkey's modern, secular self-image
by Tara Isabella Burton @T_I_Burton November 30, 2014 5:00AM ET
Hocas, who mix Islam and folk tradition, attract an unlikely demographic: the young, educated and nonreligious
IZMIR, Turkey — When locals have problems in Bağarası, they go to Durmuş Ali Kurum. Kurum is a hoca — one of several in this village of fewer than 7,000 people — a term given to local healers and advisers practicing a syncretic combination of Islam and folk tradition. Walk-in clients wait on a dirty yellow sofa in Kurum’s courtyard while he holds consultations in his makeshift office, an unlit room across from his residence, its pipes discolored by rust. On the walls, a poster detailing the perils of smoking shares space with his list of signs of the coming apocalypse: men wearing silk shirts, women covering their hair but wearing tight dresses.
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