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The Problem of Religious DiversityEuropean Challenges, Asian Approaches$
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Anna Triandafyllidou and Tariq Modood

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781474419086

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474419086.001.0001

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Secularism as a Double-Edged Sword? State Regulation of Religion in Turkey

Secularism as a Double-Edged Sword? State Regulation of Religion in Turkey

(p.273) 12 Secularism as a Double-Edged Sword? State Regulation of Religion in Turkey
The Problem of Religious Diversity

Haldun Gülalp

Edinburgh University Press

Briefly defined, secularism is a political principle that aims to guarantee citizens the right to freedom of ‘conscience and religion’, as spelled out in international human rights documents (Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 18; European Convention on Human Rights, Article 9). Although only implicit in these documents, this right also includes freedom from religion. Secularism, then, entails the existence of a political space separate from and independent of religions for the purpose of negotiating common issues and areas of concern, so that the social and political needs of all religious and irreligious members of society may be met. This is a normative definition of a principle designed to maintain and promote peace in a diverse society. A variety of institutional arrangements may protect this principle. Within Europe alone we see several different models, as we do in other parts of the world (Madeley and Enyedi 2003; Bhargava 2005). Alongside this definition there is also another one, in which secularism indicates religion’s subordination to the temporal power of the state.

Keywords:   Turkey, State regulation, Secularism

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