The Importance Of Religious Freedom In Turkey

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Religious freedom in Turkey continues to be a delicate subject, its delicacy is directly linked to religion’s place in society and the state’s approach towards it. It remains a delicate matter as Turkey is founded on the principle of secularism and yet continuously restricts activities of religious groups and individuals in most societal atmospheres, including the political, social and private spheres (BEYLUNİOĞLU, 2015). This state interference has arguable exposed non-Sunni Muslims to the most negative effects. In fact Beylunioglu argues that religious minorities have experienced severe difficulties and extrajudicial practices regarding their rights to manifest their belief in practice, worship, and teaching, despite guarantees made by the Treaty of Lausanne of 1923 (BEYLUNİOĞLU, 2015). Consequently, they have been subjected to a series of physical assaults and property confiscations, which resulted in their expulsion and emigration,…show more content…
As of today the Turkish population consists of roughly 67.8 million people, of which official Turkish statistics count approximately 99 % of the population as officially being Muslim, with the majority of whom being Sunni (source). In reality, the actual percentage of Muslim citizens is somewhat lower, however the government interprets the aforementioned Lausanne Treaty as granting legal religious status only to Greek Orthodox Christians, Armenian Orthodox Christians, and Jews (U.S. Department of State, Turkey). Thus, religious minorities who are neither of the three above nor Sunni Muslim are not recognized as religious groups and consequently counted into the percentage of the Muslim population. However, reality

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