Assoc. Prof. Dr. Selman Yılmaz


Throughout history, both politics and religion have been seeking to influence and even dominate each other. Turkey is no exception to this rule. Since the Turkish people converted to Islam in the eighth century, Islam has had a strong influence on Turkish politics. After the establishment of modern Turkey in the 1920s, the new rules gradually eradicated Islam from public life. Yet even in this process, Islam was exploited in order to shape and consolidate a new national and secular Turkish identity. When the country passed to multi-party democracy in the late 1940s, Islam was brought back to the center of daily politics again. In this chapter, I explore the implementation of secularism and state actions against religious rights in Turkey during the last century. I examine the regulation of religion, the importance of center-periphery divisions in religious-political interactions, the politicization of Islam, and framing of conservatism in the new democratic environment. In addition, I investigate political party and voter trends, contributing to a better understanding of the interaction between religion and politics in Turkey.

Imprint info: Yılmaz, Selman (2021). Religion and Politics in Turkey. In Sociology of Religion in Turkey, (ed. Şahin, Z. A., Yapıcı, A. & Demmrich, S.). Istanbul: Çamlıca Publications.