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Beyond the straight path: obstacles and progress for atheism in Turkey

Inês Teixeira, Maria (2015) Beyond the straight path: obstacles and progress for atheism in Turkey. LSE Human Rights Blog (24 Nov 2015). Website.

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Having long inspired Middle Eastern countries attempting to pursue a secular government while maintaining Islam as a reference, Turkey is often described as a bridge between civilizations; a functional blend of East and West, preserving the best of both worlds. However, a closer look will reveal a contemporary struggle for women’s rights, freedom of speech and freedom of belief – or, more specifically in the case of belief, the freedom to express a lack thereof. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, representing the conservative Justice and Development Party (AKP) in power since 2002, has been internationally criticized for allegedly attempting to build a Neo-Ottoman Era, in which international human rights standards would suffer in favor of Islamic principles. However, despite President Erdoğan’s pledge in 2002 to raise generations of devout Muslims, academic author Volkan Ertit claims Turks are walking away from religion: “The prohibition of selling alcoholic beverages on high-speed trains in Turkey, the desire to ban extramarital sex, the discussion of boys and girls living under the same roof, the statements that the Justice and Development Party is raising a ‘pious generation’…all these are about the relation between the state and religion. But I am talking about the relation between religion and society. Society is not becoming more pious, the political arena is. The two are separate things.” One thus realizes government policy and social behavior are not necessarily interchangeable. In Turkey, they often collide.

Item Type: Online resource (Website)
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2015 The Author(s)
Divisions: LSE
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BL Religion
J Political Science > JC Political theory
J Political Science > JF Political institutions (General)
K Law > K Law (General)
Date Deposited: 07 Jun 2017 07:24
Last Modified: 16 May 2024 08:11

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