3. Main religious influence factors
In this part of the paper we will focus on religion in Turkey, how does Turkey different from other Muslim countries, what are the main factors influencing religion belief today, and how religion influences peoples’ behavior and society as a whole. We will cover question part later in our second report.
Turkey is very interesting country in terms of religious study. Geographically the country situated in Western Asia and partially in South of Europe, but it is considered Eastern Europe country. Geographic location has made a mark in the history of the country politically as well as religiously, there is presence of western influence on Turkey’s society.
Islam plays significant role in Turkey. The majority of population (99 percent) is Muslims (Serif, 2011).
Islam is one of the three world religions and is relatively young religion that originated in the VII century BC in the west of the Arabian Peninsula. The main tenet of Islam - monotheism: "There is no God but Allah, and Mohammed - his prophet”. The word Islam in Arabic means "submission" and Muslim (from the Arabic "muslim") - humble. Islam encourages its supporters to be obedient to God and destiny ordained them (Religion in Turkey, n.d.).
In Turkey as in most democratic countries, there is freedom to choose religion and beliefs. Muslim religion is divided into different subgroups; most Muslims in Turkey are Sunnis (72 percent), and Alevis of the Shia (about 25 percent). The other 3 percent of Muslim population in Turkey are a Twelver Shia community that represents 3percent of the Muslims. According to Zeydan, “The Ottomans had accepted Sunni Islam in the 13th century as a means to unifying their empire” (1995). Alevism as Muslim subdivisión is considered as the opposition to Sunni Islam. Zeydan mentioned in the article that the gap between Sunni and Alevi in Turkish society nourished by centuries of majority persecution, prejudice and misconceptions. Many Sunnis consider Alevis as unclean practice and people following Alevis are not true Muslims.
Historical influence on modern Turkey. Turkey is the first country where religion is fully separated from the state. Nowadays this idea is still supported by nation. The question we ask why Turkish people follow this idea? The roots of this idea lie at the beginning of foundation of Republic of Turkey. At that time due to changes in Constitution, society was divided into two parts: peripherals (traditional) – Center (modern). In addition, legal reform 1869-1876 (known as “Tranzimat”) influenced the political and religious development of Turkey, “which had led to the adoption of numerous legislative acts directly based on European models” (Shibanova, n.d.).
Ataturk and his reforms towards secularism still play significant role in Turkey. We have seen lots of portraits of Ataturk in Istanbul, particularly in the Kultur University, there are portraits in every classroom. It represents the dedication of Turkish...