AUTHOR: Oğuzhan Tan
Danubius, XXXII- Supliment, Galati, 2014, pp. 5-16.
State’s position from religion and faith groups in Turkey has several historical dynamics. Ottomans treated non-Muslims within a semi-autonomous so-called Millet System derived from the Islamic Law until 1856 when The Imperial Reform Edict granted all faith groups without distinction a set of rights and totally abolished the Millet system. However religious authorities did not welcome this change due to the fact that the extension of the citizens’ rights meant a decline in religious authorities’ dominion over their own communities. Consequently, non-Muslim communities gained a more prominent and political characteristic which resulted in developing an ethnic nationalism within the religious communities.
In the Treaty of Lausanne signed in 1923, a very important reference concerning the issue of minorities in the Republic of Turkey, the minority concept was based on the Muslim/non-Muslim distinction. On the other hand, the new regime’s political design and its religion policies had deep effects on the political, social and religious life. Many of the contemporary problems connecting relationship between the state and faith groups in Modern Turkey date from the last two centuries and are highly associated with the transition from the Ottoman Period to the Republic one.