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The Quiet Comeback of Istanbul's Hidden Sufi Lodges

Whirling dervishes in Yenikapi Mevlevihanesi, Istanbul. (Photo: Ihsan Gercelman/ The whirling of the Mevlevi dervishes is one of Turkey's most iconic images, popularized in films and tourist ads for decades. Naturally, these ads do not mention that it has been illegal to perform this ritual for almost 100 years. In fact the Mevlevis are just one of a dozen Islamic orders—called tarikat in Turkish—whose activities are still banned in Turkey.
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