This article needs to be updated.October 2017)(
| Religion in Turkey |
|Secularism in Turkey|
|Irreligion in Turkey|
Secularism in Turkey defines the relationship between religion and state in the country of Turkey. Secularism (or laïcité ) was first introduced with the 1928 amendment of the Constitution of 1924, which removed the provision declaring that the "Religion of the State is Islam", and with the later reforms of Turkey's first president Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, which set the administrative and political requirements to create a modern, democratic, secular state, aligned with Kemalism.
Religion may be defined as a cultural system of designated behaviors and practices, morals, worldviews, texts, sanctified places, prophecies, ethics, or organizations, that relates humanity to supernatural, transcendental, or spiritual elements. However, there is no scholarly consensus over what precisely constitutes a religion.
A state is a compulsory political organization with a centralized government that maintains a monopoly on the legitimate use of force within a certain geographical territory.
Turkey, officially the Republic of Turkey, is a transcontinental country located mainly in Western Asia, with a smaller portion on the Balkan Peninsula in Southeast Europe. East Thrace, located in Europe, is separated from Anatolia by the Sea of Marmara, the Bosphorous strait and the Dardanelles. Turkey is bordered by Greece and Bulgaria to its northwest; Georgia to its northeast; Armenia, the Azerbaijani exclave of Nakhchivan and Iran to the east; and Iraq and Syria to the south. Ankara is its capital but Istanbul is the country's largest city. Approximately 70 to 80 per cent of the country's citizens identify as Turkish. Kurds are the largest minority; the size of the Kurdish population is a subject of dispute with estimates placing the figure at anywhere from 12 to 25 per cent of the population.
Nine years after its introduction, laïcité was explicitly stated in the second article of the then Turkish constitution on February 5, 1937. The current Constitution of 1982 neither recognizes an official religion nor promotes any.
The Constitution of the Republic of Turkey, also known as the Constitution of 1982, is Turkey's fundamental law. It establishes the organization of the government and sets out the principles and rules of the state's conduct along with its responsibilities in regards to its citizens. The constitution also establishes the rights and responsibilities of the latter while setting the guidelines for the delegation and exercise of sovereignty that belongs to the Turkish people.
Unlike other definitions of secularism where it means separation between church and state, in Turkey the term laiklik denotes state control and legal regulation of religion.
Turkey's "laïcité" calls for the separation of religion and the state, but also describes the state's stance as one of "active neutrality". Turkey's actions related with religion are carefully analyzed and evaluated through the Presidency of Religious Affairs (Diyanet İşleri Başkanlığı or simply Diyanet).The duties of the Presidency of Religious Affairs are "to execute the works concerning the beliefs, worship, and ethics of Islam, enlighten the public about their religion, and administer the sacred worshipping places".
The separation of church and state is a philosophic and jurisprudential concept for defining political distance in the relationship between religious organizations and the nation state. Conceptually, the term refers to the creation of a secular state and to disestablishment, the changing of an existing, formal relationship between the church and the state.
The history of secularism in Turkey extends to the Tanzimat reforms of Ottoman Empire. The second peak in secularism occurred during the Second Constitutional Era. The current form was achieved by Atatürk's Reforms.
The Tanzimât was a period of reform in the Ottoman Empire that began in 1839 and ended with the First Constitutional Era in 1876.
Atatürk's Reforms were a series of political, legal, religious, cultural, social, and economic policy changes that were designed to convert the new Republic of Turkey into a secular, modern nation-state and implemented under the leadership of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk in accordance with the Kemalist ideology. Central to these reforms were the belief that Turkish society would have to Westernize itself both politically and culturally in order to modernize. Political reforms involved a number of fundamental institutional changes that brought end of many traditions, and followed a carefully planned program to unravel the complex system that had developed over the centuries.
The establishing structure (Ruling institution of the Ottoman Empire) of the Ottoman Empire (13th century) was an Islamic state in which the head of the Ottoman state was the Sultan. The social system was organized around millet. Millet structure allowed a great degree of religious, cultural and ethnic continuity to non-Muslim populations across the subdivisions of the Ottoman Empire and at the same time it permitted their incorporation into the Ottoman administrative, economic and political system.The Ottoman-appointed governor collected taxes and provided security, while the local religious or cultural matters were left to the regional communities to decide. On the other hand, the sultans were Muslims and the laws that bound them were based on the Sharia, the body of Islamic law, as well as various cultural customs. The Sultan, beginning in 1517, was also a caliph, the leader of all the Sunni Muslims in the world. By the turn of the 19th century the Ottoman ruling elite recognized the need to restructure the legislative, military and judiciary systems to cope with their new political rivals in Europe. When the millet system started to lose its efficiency due to the rise of nationalism within its borders, the Ottoman Empire explored new ways of governing its territory composed of diverse populations.
The Ottoman Empire, also historically known in Western Europe as the Turkish Empire or simply Turkey, was a state that controlled much of Southeast Europe, Western Asia and North Africa between the 14th and early 20th centuries. It was founded at the end of the 13th century in northwestern Anatolia in the town of Söğüt by the Oghuz Turkish tribal leader Osman I. After 1354, the Ottomans crossed into Europe, and with the conquest of the Balkans, the Ottoman beylik was transformed into a transcontinental empire. The Ottomans ended the Byzantine Empire with the 1453 conquest of Constantinople by Mehmed the Conqueror.
In the Ottoman Empire, a millet was a separate court of law pertaining to "personal law" under which a confessional community was allowed to rule itself under its own laws. Despite frequently being referred to as a "system", before the nineteenth century the organization of what are now retrospectively called millets in the Ottoman Empire was far from systematic. Rather, non-Muslims were simply given a significant degree of autonomy within their own community, without an overarching structure for the 'millet' as a whole. The notion of distinct millets corresponding to different religious communities within the empire would not emerge until the eighteenth century. Subsequently, the existence of the millet system was justified through numerous foundation myths linking it back to the time of Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror, although it is now understood that no such system existed in the fifteenth century. After the Ottoman Tanzimat (1839–76) reforms, the term was used for legally protected religious minority groups, similar to the way other countries use the word nation. The word millet comes from the Arabic word millah (ملة) and literally means "nation". The millet system has been called an example of pre-modern religious pluralism.
Sharia, Sharia law, or Islamic law is a religious law forming part of the Islamic tradition. It is derived from the religious precepts of Islam, particularly the Quran and the Hadith. In Arabic, the term sharīʿah refers to God's immutable divine law and is contrasted with fiqh, which refers to its human scholarly interpretations. It has been described as "one of the major intellectual achievements of Islam" and its importance in Islam has been compared to that of theology in Christianity. The manner of its application in modern times has been a subject of dispute between Muslim traditionalists and reformists.
Sultan Selim III founded the first secular military schools by establishing the new military unit, Nizam-ı Cedid, as early as 1792. However the last century (19th century) of the Ottoman Empire had many far reaching reforms. These reforms peaked with the Tanzimat which was the initial reform era of the Ottoman Empire. After the Tanzimat, rules, such as those relating to the equalized status of non-Muslim citizens, the establishment of a parliament, the abandonment of medieval punishments for apostasy,as well as the codification of the constitution of the empire and the rights of Ottoman subjects were established. The First World War brought about the fall of the Ottoman Empire and the subsequent partitioning of the Ottoman Empire by the victorious Allies. Therefore, the Republic of Turkey was actually a nation-state built as a result of an empire lost.
During the establishment of the Republic, there were two sections of the elite group at the helm of the discussions for the future. These were the Islamist reformists and Westerners.They shared a similar goal, the modernization of the new state. Many basic goals were common to both groups. The founder of the modern Turkish Republic Mustafa Kemal Atatürk's achievement was to amplify this common ground and put the country on a fast track of reforms, now known as Atatürk's Reforms.
Their first act was to give the Turkish nation the right to exercise popular sovereignty via representative democracy. Prior to declaring the new Republic, the Turkish Grand National Assembly abolished the constitutional monarchy on November 1, 1922. The Turkish Grand National Assembly then moved to replace the extant Islamic law structure with the laws it had passed during the Turkish War of Independence, beginning in 1919. The modernization of the Law had already begun at the point that the project was undertaken in earnest. A milestone in this process was the passage of the Turkish Constitution of 1921. Upon the establishment of the Republic on October 29, 1923, the institution of the caliphate remained, but the passage of a new constitution in 1924 effectively abolished this title held by the Ottoman Sultanate since 1517. Even as the new constitution eliminated the caliphate it, at the same time, declared Islam as the official religion of the Turkish Republic. The caliphate's powers within Turkey were transferred to the National Assembly and the title has since been inactive. The Turkish Republic does in theory still retain the right to reinstate the caliphate, should it ever elect to do so.
Following quickly upon these developments, a number of social reforms were undertaken. Many of these reforms affected every aspect of Turkish life, moving to erase the legacy of dominance long held by religion and tradition. The unification of education, installation of a secular education system, and the closure of many religious orders took place on March 3, 1924. This extended to closure of religious convents and dervish lodges on November 30, 1925. These reforms also included the extension to women of voting rights in 1931 and the right be to elected to public office on December 5, 1934. The inclusion of reference to laïcité into the constitution was achieved by an amendment on February 5, 1937, a move regarded as the final act in the project of instituting complete separation between governmental and religious affairs in Turkey.
According to at least one observer (Mustafa Akyol), under the Islamic Justice and Development Party (AKP) government of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, starting in 2007, "hundreds of secularist officers and their civilian allies" were jailed, and by 2012 the "old secularist guard" in positions of authority was replaced by members/supporters of the AKP party and the Islamic Gülen movement.On 25 April 2016, the Turkish Parliament Speaker İsmail Kahraman told a conference of Islamic scholars and writers in Istanbul that "secularism would not have a place in a new constitution”, as Turkey is “a Muslim country and so we should have a religious constitution". (One of the duties of Parliament Speaker is to pen a new draft constitution for Turkey.)
Some have also complained (see cite) that under Erdoğan, the old role of the Diyanet —maintaining control over the religious sphere of Islam in Turkey—has "largely been turned on its head".Now greatly increased in size, the Diyanet promotes a certain type of conservative ( Hanafi Sunni) Islam inside Turkey, issuing fatawa forbidding such activities as "feeding dogs at home, celebrating the western New Year, lotteries, and tattoos"; and projecting this "Turkish Islam" abroad.
The government of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the Justice and Development Party (AKP) pursue the explicit policy agenda of Islamization of education to "raise a devout generation" against secular resistance,in the process causing lost jobs and school for many non-religious citizens of Turkey. Following the July Coup, which President Erdoğan called “a gift from God", thousands were purged by the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government—primarily followers of the Gülen movement, which is alleged to have launched the coup —but also remaining secularists. One explanation for the end of secularism in Turkey is that socialism was seen as a threat from the left to "capitalist supremacy", and Islamic values were restored in the education system because they "appeared best suited to neutralize any challenges from the left to capitalist supremacy."
The Constitution asserts that Turkey (used to be / is supposed to be) a secular and democratic republic, deriving its sovereignty from the people. The sovereignty rests with the Turkish Nation, who delegates its exercise to an elected unicameral parliament, the Turkish Grand National Assembly. Moreover, Article 4: declares the immovability the founding principles of the Republic defined in the first three Articles:
The Constitution bans any proposals for the modification of these articles. Each of these concepts which were distributed in the three articles of the constitution can not be achieved without the other two concepts.[ citation needed ] The constitution requires a central administration which would lose its meaning (effectiveness, coverage, etc.) if the system is not based on laïcité, social equality, and equality before law. Vice versa, if the Republic differentiate itself based on social, religious differences, administration can not be equal to the population when the administration is central.[ citation needed ] The system which tried to be established in the constitution sets out to found a unitary nation-state based on the principles of secular democracy.
The Turkish Constitution recognizes freedom of religion for individuals whereas identified religious communities are placed under the protection of state, but the constitution explicitly states that they cannot become involved in the political process (by forming a religious party for instance) and no party can claim that it represents a form of religious belief. Nevertheless, religious views are generally expressed through conservative parties.[ citation needed ]
In recent history, two parties have been ordered to close (Welfare Party [ Turkish : Refah Partisi)] in 1998, and Virtue Party [(Turkish : Fazilet Partisi)] in 2001) by the Constitutional Court for Islamist activities and attempts to "redefine the secular nature of the republic". The first party to be closed for suspected anti-secularist activities was the Progressive Republican Party on June 3, 1925.[ citation needed ]
Issues relating to Turkey's secularism were discussed in the lead up to the 2007 presidential elections, in which the ruling party chose a candidate with Islamic connections, Abdullah Gül, for the first time in its secular republic. While some in Turkey have expressed concern that the nomination could represent a move away from Turkey's secularist traditions, including particularly Turkey's priority on equality between the sexes, others have suggested that the conservative party has effectively promoted modernization while reaching out to more traditional and religious elements in Turkish society.On July 22, 2007 it was reported that the more religiously conservative ruling party won a larger than expected electoral victory in the parliamentary elections.
Turkey's preservation and maintenance of its secular identity has been a profound issue and source of tension. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has broken with secular tradition, by speaking out in favor of limited Islamism and against the active restrictions,[ citation needed ] instituted by Atatürk on wearing the Islamic-style head scarves in government offices and schools. The Republic Protests (Turkish : Cumhuriyet Mitingleri) were a series of peaceful mass rallies that took place in Turkey in the spring of 2007 in support of the Kemalist ideals of state secularism.
The constitutional rule that prohibits discrimination on religious grounds is taken very seriously. Turkey, as a secular country, prohibits by law the wearing of religious headcover and theo-political symbolic garments for both genders in government buildings and schools;a law upheld by the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights as legitimate on November 10, 2005 in Leyla Şahin v. Turkey .
The strict application of secularism in Turkey has been credited for enabling women to have access to greater opportunities, compared to countries with a greater influence of religion in public affairs, in matters of education, employment, wealth as well as political, social and cultural freedoms.
Also paradoxical with the Turkish secularism is the fact that identity document cards of Turkish citizens include the specification of the card holder's religion. [ citation needed ]This declaration was perceived by some as representing a form of the state's surveillance over its citizens' religious choices.
The mainstream Hanafite school of Sunni Islam is entirely organized by the state, through the Diyanet İşleri Başkanlığı (Religious Affairs Directorate), which supervises all mosques, educates the imams who work in them, and approves all content for religious services and prayers. It appoints imams, who are classified as civil servants. [ citation needed ] Groups that have expressed dissatisfaction with this situation include a variety of non-governmental Sunni / Hanafi groups (such as the Nurci movement), whose interpretation of Islam tends to be more activist; and the non-Sunni Alevi lik, whose members tend to resent supporting the Sunni establishment with their tax money (whereas the Turkish state does not subsidize Alevi religious activities).[ citation needed ]This micromanagement of Sunni religious practices, at times, seems much more sectarian than secular, as it violates the principle of state neutrality in religious practice.
Reforms going in the direction of secularism have been completed under Atatürk (abolition of the caliphate, etc.).
However, Turkey is not strictly a secular state:
Religion is mentioned on the identity documents and there is an administration called "Presidency of Religious Affairs" or Diyanetwhich exploits Islam to legitimize sometimes State and manages 77,500 mosques. This state agency, established by Atatürk in 1924, and which had a budget over U.S. $2.5 billion in 2012 finances only Sunni Muslim worship. Other religions must ensure a financially self-sustaining running and they face administrative obstacles during operation.
When harvesting tax, all Turkish citizens are equal. The tax rate is not based on religion. However, through the Diyanet, Turkish citizens are not equal in the use of revenue. For example, Câferî (Ja'fari) Muslims (mostly Azeris) and Alevi Bektashi (mostly Turkmen) participate in the financing of the mosques and the salaries of Sunni imams, while their places of worship, which are not officially recognized by the State, don't receive any funding.
Theoretically, Turkey, through the Treaty of Lausanne (1923), recognizes the civil, political and cultural rights of non-Muslim minorities.
In practice, Turkey only recognizes Greek, Armenian and Jewish religious minorities without granting them all the rights mentioned in the Treaty of Lausanne.
Alevi Bektashi Câferî Muslims, Latin Catholics and Protestants are not recognized officially.
|Religions||Estimated population||Expropriation |
|Official recognition through the Constitution or international treaties||Government Financing of places of worship and religious staff|
|Islam - Sunnite||70 to 85% (52 to 64 millions)||No||Yes through the Diyanet mentioned in the Constitution (art.136)||Yes through the Diyanet|
|Twelver Islam - Bektashi||15 to 25% (11 to 19 millions)||Yes||No. In 1826 with the abolition of the Janissary corps, the Bektashi tekke (dervish convent) were closed ·||No|
|Twelver Islam - Alevi||No. In the early fifteenth century, due to the unsustainable Ottoman oppression, Alevi supported Shah Ismail I. who had Turkmen origins. Shah Ismail I. supporters, who wear a red cap with twelve folds in reference to the 12 Imams were called Qizilbash. Ottomans who were Arabized and persanised considered Qizilbash (Alevi) as enemies because of their Turkmen origins. Today, cemevi, places of worship of Alevi Bektashi have no official recognition.|
|Twelver Islam - Câferî||4% (3 millions)||No||No|
|Twelver Islam - Alawite||300 to 350 000||No||No|
|Judaism||20,000||Yes||Yes through the Treaty of Lausanne (1923)||No|
|Christian - Protestant||5,000||No||No|
|Christian – Latin Catholics||35,000 ||No||No|
|Christian – Greek Catholics||Yes||Yes through the Treaty of Lausanne (1923)||No|
|Christian - Orthodox - Greek (Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople)||3,000-4,000||Yes||Yes through the Treaty of Lausanne (1923)||No|
|Christian - Orthodox - Antiochian Orthodox (Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch)||18,000||No||No|
|Christian - Orthodox - Armenian (Armenian Patriarchate of Constantinople)||57,000-80,000||Yes||Yes through the Treaty of Lausanne (1923)||No|
|Christian - Catholics Chaldean Christians (Armenian)||3,000||Yes||Yes through the Treaty of Lausanne (1923)||No|
|Christian - Syriac Orthodox and Catholic Churches||15,000||Yes||No||No|
With more than 100,000 employees, the Diyanet is a kind of state within the state.
In 2013, with over 4.6 billion TL (Turkish Lira), Diyanet or Ministry of Religious Affairs, occupies the 16th position of central government expenditure.
The budget allocated to Diyanet is:
Diyanet's budget represents:
Many of the passages citations can be found at the UNHCR
With a policy of official secularism, the Turkish government has traditionally banned the wearing of headscarves by women who work in the public sector. The ban applies to teachers, lawyers, parliamentarians and others working on state premises. The ban on headscarves in the civil service and educational and political institutions was expanded to cover non-state institutions. Authorities began to enforce the headscarf ban among mothers accompanying their children to school events or public swimming pools, while female lawyers and journalists who refused to comply with the ban were expelled from public buildings such as courtrooms and universities [ citation needed ]. In 1999, the ban on headscarves in the public sphere hit the headlines when Merve Kavakçı, a newly elected MP for the Virtue Party was prevented from taking her oath in the National Assembly because she wore a headscarf. The constitutional rule that prohibits discrimination on religious grounds is taken very seriously. Turkey, as a secular country, prohibits by law the wearing of religious headcover and theo-political symbolic garments for both genders in government buildings, schools, and universities; a law upheld by the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights as legitimate on November 10, 2005 in Leyla Şahin v. Turkey .
According to Country Reports 2007, women who wore headscarves and their supporters "were disciplined or lost their jobs in the public sector" (US 11 March 2008, Sec. 2.c). Human Rights Watch (HRW) reports that in late 2005, the Administrative Supreme Court ruled that a teacher was not eligible for a promotion in her school because she wore a headscarf outside of work (Jan. 2007). An immigration counsellor at the Embassy of Canada in Ankara stated in 27 April 2005 correspondence with the Research Directorate that public servants are not permitted to wear a headscarf while on duty, but headscarved women may be employed in the private sector. In 12 April 2005 correspondence sent to the Research Directorate, a professor of political science specializing in women's issues in Turkey at Bogazici University in Istanbul indicated that women who wear a headscarf "could possibly be denied employment in private or government sectors." Conversely, some municipalities with a more traditional constituency might attempt to hire specifically those women who wear a headscarf (Professor 12 April 2005). The professor did add, however, that headscarved women generally experience difficulty in obtaining positions as teachers, judges, lawyers, or doctors in the public service (ibid.). More recent or corroborating information on the headscarf ban in the public service could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate.
The London-based Sunday Times reports that while the ban is officially in place only in the public sphere, many private firms similarly avoid hiring women who wear headscarves (6 May 2007). MERO notes that women who wear headscarves may have more difficulty finding a job or obtaining a desirable wage (Apr. 2008), although this could not be corroborated among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate.
According to the Sunday Times, headscarves are banned inside Turkish hospitals, and doctors may not don a headscarf on the job (6 May 2007). Nevertheless, MERO reports that under Turkey's current administration, seen by secularists to have a hidden religious agenda (The New York Times 19 February 2008; Washington Post 26 February 2008), doctors who wear headscarves have been employed in some public hospitals (MERO Apr. 2008).
On 9 February 2008, Turkey's parliament approved a constitutional amendment that lifted the ban on Islamic headscarves in universities. Prior to this date, the public ban on headscarves officially extended to students on university campuses throughout Turkey. Nevertheless, according to Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2007, "some faculty members permitted students to wear head coverings in class". Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty notes that since the 1990s, some rectors have allowed students to wear headscarves.
On 5 June 2008, Turkey's Constitutional Court annulled the parliament's proposed amendment intended to lift the headscarf ban, ruling that removing the ban would run counter to official secularism. While the highest court's decision to uphold the headscarf ban cannot be appealed (AP 7 June 2008), the government has nevertheless indicated that it is considering adopting measures to weaken the court's authority.
According to the Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation around 62% of women wear the headscarf in Turkey.
Turkey's strong secularism has resulted in what have been perceived by some as strictures on the freedom of religion; for example, the headscarf has long been prohibited in public universities, and a constitutional amendment passed in February 2008 that permitted women to wear it on university campuses sparked considerable controversy. In addition, the armed forces have maintained a vigilant watch over Turkey's political secularism, which they affirm to be a keystone among Turkey's founding principles. The military has not left the maintenance of a secular political process to chance, however, and has intervened in politics on a number of occasions.
The politics of Turkey takes place in a framework of a presidential republic, whereby the President of Turkey is the head of government and the head of state who holds executive powers to issue executive decrees, appoint judges and heads of state institutions.
Ahmet Necdet Sezer is a Turkish politician who was the tenth President of Turkey, serving from 2000 to 2007. Previously he was President of the Constitutional Court of Turkey from 1998 to 2000. The Grand National Assembly of Turkey elected Sezer as President in 2000 after Süleyman Demirel's seven-year term expired. He was succeeded by Abdullah Gül in 2007.
The Justice and Development Party, abbreviated officially AK Parti in Turkish, is an Islamist political party in Turkey. Developed from the conservative tradition of Turkey's Ottoman past and its Islamic identity, the party is the largest in Turkey. Founded in 2001 by members of a number of existing conservative parties, the party has won pluralities in the six most recent legislative elections, those of 2002, 2007, 2011, June 2015, November 2015, and 2018. The party held a majority of seats for 13 years, but lost it in June 2015, only to regain it in the snap election of November 2015 but then lose it again in 2018. Its electoral success has been mirrored in the three local elections held since the party's establishment, coming first in 2004, 2009 and 2014 respectively. The current party leader is Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the incumbent President of Turkey.
The French law on secularity and conspicuous religious symbols in schools bans wearing conspicuous religious symbols in French public primary and secondary schools. The law is an amendment to the French Code of Education that expands principles founded in existing French law, especially the constitutional requirement of laïcité: the separation of state and religious activities.
Laïcité, literally "secularity", is a French concept of secularism. It discourages religious involvement in government affairs, especially religious influence in the determination of state policies; it also forbids government involvement in religious affairs, and especially prohibits government influence in the determination of religion.
Islam in Turkey is the largest religion in the country. The established presence of Islam in the region that now constitutes modern Turkey dates back to the latter half of the 11th century, when the Seljuks started expanding into eastern Anatolia.
Kemalism, also known as Atatürkism, or the Six Arrows, is the founding ideology of the Republic of Turkey. Kemalism, as it was implemented by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, was defined by sweeping political, social, cultural and religious reforms designed to separate the new Turkish state from its Ottoman predecessor and embrace a Westernized way of living, including the establishment of democracy, secularism, state support of the sciences and free education, many of which were first introduced to Turkey during Atatürk's presidency in his reforms.
In Turkey, the Directorate of Religious Affairs is an official state institution established in 1924 under article 136 of the Constitution of Turkey by the Grand National Assembly of Turkey as a successor to the Shaykh al-Islām after the abolition of the Ottoman Caliphate.
Millî Görüş is a religio-political movement and a series of Islamist parties inspired by Necmettin Erbakan. It has been called one of "the leading Turkish diaspora organizations in Europe" and also described as the largest Islamic organization operating in the West. Founded in 1969, the movement claimed to have "87,000 members across Europe, including 50,000 in Germany," as of 2005. The term also refers to the "religious vision" of the organization that emphasizes the moral and spiritual strength of Islamic faith (Iman) and explains the Muslim world's decline as a result of its imitation of Western values and inappropriate use of Western technology. The Movement is active in nearly all European countries and also countries like Australia Canada and the United States.
Islamic dress in Europe, especially the variety of headdresses worn by Muslim women, has become a prominent symbol of the presence of Islam in western Europe. In several countries, the adherence to hijab has led to political controversies and proposals for a legal ban. Some countries already have laws banning the wearing of masks in public, which can be applied to veils that conceal the face. Other countries are debating similar legislation, or have more limited prohibitions. Some of them apply only to face-covering clothing such as the burqa, boushiya, or niqab; some apply to any clothing with an Islamic religious symbolism such as the khimar, a type of headscarf. The issue has different names in different countries, and "the veil" or hijab may be used as general terms for the debate, representing more than just the veil itself, or the concept of modesty embodied in hijab.
Islam is the largest religion in Turkey according to the state, with 99.8% of the population being automatically registered by the state as Muslim, for anyone whose parents are not of any other officially recognised religion. Due to the nature of this method, the official number of Muslims include people with no religion; converted Christians/Jews; people who are of a different religion than Islam, Christianity or Judaism; and anyone who is of a different religion than their parents, but has not applied for a change of their individual records. The state currently does not allow the individual records to be changed to anything other than Islam, Christianity or Judaism, and the latter two are only accepted with a document of recognition released by an officially recognised church or synagogue. In 2016 Islam was the major religion in Turkey comprising only 98.3% of the total population, and Christianity with 0.2%.
The Republic Protests were a series of peaceful mass rallies that took place in Turkey in 2007 in support of a strict principle of state secularism.
Turkey is a secular country in accordance with Article 24 of its constitution. Secularism in Turkey derives from Mustafa Kemal Atatürk's Six Arrows: republicanism, populism, laïcité, reformism, nationalism and statism. The Turkish government imposes some restrictions on Muslims and other religious groups, as well as Muslim religious expression in government offices and state-run institutions, including universities.
The definition and application of secularism, especially the place of religion in society, varies among Muslim countries as it does among western countries. Secularism is often used to describe the separation of public life and civil/government matters from religious teachings and commandments, or simply the separation of religion and politics. Secularism in Muslim countries is often contrasted with Islamism, and secularists tend to seek to promote secular political and social values as opposed to Islamic ones. Among western scholars and Muslim intellectuals, there are some debates over secularism which include the understanding of political and religious authorities in the Islamic world and the means and degree of application of sharia in legal system of the state.
The Republic of Turkey has been a secular state since the constitutional amendment of 1937. Mustafa Kemal Atatürk introduced the secularization of the state in the Turkish Constitution of 1924, alongside his reforms. Atatürk never forbade the headscarf, but actively discouraged its use in public venues. The headscarf was banned in public institutions because of the 'public clothing regulation' issued after the 1980 coup and began to be implemented in a radical way after the 1997 military memorandum. The ban on the headscarf for public personnel was lifted by the democratization package on 1 October 2013 and with the amendment made in article 5 of the dress code regulation, restrictive provisions were lifted. These were in accordance with the Kemalist ideology, with a strict appliance of laïcité in the constitution. The issue of the headscarf debate has been very intense and controversial since its ban, along with other prominent religious symbols, in public buildings such as government institutions and public schools, similar to policies in France and Mexico. Turkey is a secular country and over 95% of its people are Muslims. It has resulted in a clash between those favouring the secular principles of the state, such as the Turkish Armed Forces, and religious conservatives, including some Islamists.
The word hijab refers to both the head-covering traditionally worn by some Muslim women and Islamic styles of dress in general.
Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the 25th Prime Minister of the Republic of Turkey, was born on February 26, 1954 in Istanbul, Turkey.
Conservative democracy is a label coined by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) of Turkey to describe Islamic democracy. Forming as a modernist breakaway party from former Islamist movements, the AKP's conservative democratic ideology has been described as a departure from or moderation of Islamic democracy and the endorsement of more secular and democratic values. The electoral success and the Neo-Ottoman foreign policy of the AKP that aims to broaden Turkey's regional influence has led to the party's conservative democratic ideals to be mirrored in other countries, such as by the Justice and Development Party in Morocco and the Ennahda Movement in Tunisia.
Albania has been a secular state since its founding in 1912, despite various changes in political systems. During the 20th century after Independence (1912) the democratic, monarchic and later the totalitarian communist regimes followed a systematic secularisation of the nation and the national culture. The Albanian understanding of secularism has strong influences from the French “Laicité”.
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