eurel     Données sociologiques et juridiques sur la religion en Europe et au-delà


  • October 2016 : Diyanet’s report on terrorism

Turkey’s Directorate of Religious Affairs (the Diyanet) is a secular administrative unit which was established in 1924, before the implementation of the secularism code in 1937. In the Constitution of 1924, the Religion of the Turkish State is Islam. This mention was removed from the Constitution in 1928. In 1937, the principle of Laiklik (secularism) is added to the Constitution. The task of the Diyanet is to execute services regarding the Islamic faith and its practices, to enlighten the society about religion, and to carry out the management of places of prayer. Since 1983, it also has the duty to provide religious services for Turks living abroad through the DITIB (Diyanet Isleri türk Islam Birligi – Religious Affairs of the Turkish Islamic Union). Although the Diyanet’s assigned position is religion-related, its structural and legal mechanisms are secular, and it has recently gained an increasingly political position, especially during the Justice and Development Party (AKP) period.

Furthermore, the Diyanet has given itself a new position, in line with the ruling party’s discourses and actions. In this regard, while the world is suffering the terror activities of DAESH/ISIS, the Diyanet has just published a report – at the time Turkey is involved in cross-border operation with international coalition forces to oppose terrorist forces – about its mentality, activities and relation with Islam. Additionally, according to the Diyanet, one of the goals of this report is to contribute to the awareness-raising process.

The report highlights four important points :

1) The report explains the ideology and mind-set of the terrorist organisation, from the perspective of Turkey’s religion administrative office.
2) The report examines the Islamic understanding of the organization called DAESH/ISIS and their approach of religious texts, and provides information regarding its formation processes.
3) The report gives an explanatory answer to the claim of DAESH/ISIS to be the Caliphate of Islam.
4) The report categorises different groups that have been prosecuted by DAESH/ISIS, such as Ahl-Al-Kitab (people of the Book, i.e. Christians or Jews), Yazidis, women and children.

Ahmet Erdi Öztürk
  • September 2016 : The management of religion in Turkey

There is an ongoing debate in Turkey nowadays concerning both secularism and the Diyanet (Diyanet İşleri Başkanlığı, directorate of religious affairs). Two articles can help to understand the background of these discussions, by highlighting the importance of the Diyanet and explaining the Turkish understanding of secularism.

Firstly, a report on The Management of Religion in Turkey, issued by the Turkey Institute in 2014, describes the relationship between religion and politics in a Muslim-majority country. This relationship has wider implications for the neighbouring region, due to the fact that Turkey has a secular state structure and a mostly Muslim population. In addition, the implications for minorities, control of religion by the State, and freedom of religion or belief, have great significance not only for academic research and discussion but also for day-to-day political decision-making. This analysis is highly relevant to the recent developments in Turkey, currently governed by the AKP (Justice and Development Party), which uses religious rhetoric, and appeals to the public with and through religious sensitivity. Last but not least, the management of religion in Turkey also has an impact on Turkey’s democracy, human rights, equality and good governance. In that sense, it will be closely monitored by the European Union, as stated in its recently published progress report on Turkey.

An article of Murat Somer, from Koç University, "Moderate Islam and Secularist Opposition in Turkey", can also be of interest although having been published in 2007. Developing an argument based in theories of democratic consolidation and religious competition, and discussing the reasons for the secularist opposition to the government, this article analyses how government by a party rooted in moderate Islamism may affect Turkey’s peculiar secular democracy, development and external relations and how Muslims in the world relate to modernization and democracy.

Source : Istar Gozaydın and Ahmet Erdi Ozturk, The Management of Religion in Turkey, Turkey Institute, November 2014 ;
Murat Somer, "Moderate Islam and Secularist Opposition in Turkey", Third World Quarterly Vol. 28, No. 7, 2007, p. 1271 – 1289.

Ahmet Erdi Öztürk

D 1er septembre 2016    AAhmet Erdi Öztürk ANihal Durmaz ASamim Akgönül

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