The Alevist movement developed almost simultaneously in Turkey and among Turkish migrants, but it is structured and acts quite differently in these distinct, albeit related, political spaces. This comparative empirical study tries to explain the differences in the discourses and the success of Alevist movements in Turkey and Germany by relating them to the broader institutional and discursive contexts within which they are embedded. Alevist movements are incorporated differently in state policies directed to claim-makers and consequently possess different discursive and institutional resources. Spatially bounded institutional contexts and political agendas frame the discourse and strategies of Alevist claim-making, and result in divergent developments. It is thus necessary to disentangle the multiple levels of claim-and policy-making involved (local, national and supranational), and to analyze their relationships and possible articulations. ‘Transnational’ mobilization has often been understood as a mere continuation of mobilization at home or, oppositely, as its driving force. This paper questions the continuity between mobilizations at home and abroad, and argues that mobilization in migration entails specific dynamics, which may not be re-imported home.