Can Secularism Hinder Democracy? The Turkish Experiment


The concept of democracy that has gained importance since the end of the Second World War and the relation between state and religion in Turkey have attracted a considerable degree of interest in various academic circles. It is known that in democratic systems, equality before the law and equality of opportunities for all individuals are regarded as integral elements. In this context, although it may be argued that many states that have a secular system are actually democratic in terms of their non-intervention in the religious choices of its citizens, it is also known that there is another interpretation of secularism in which the state exercises control over religion. The Turkish case represents a unique example in the study of the relationship between secularism and democracy with regard to the dominant role of the state in religious affairs. This study will attempt to analyze the negative impact of the state’s interpretation of secularism on democracy in Turkey.


Turkey Modernization Secularism Laicism Democracy Kemalist Elitism