Religion in Turkey

Although the main religion in Turkey is Islam, the country does have a rich past in terms of other religions.

The religion of 99% of the population of Turkey is Islam; however Turkey is a secular state without any official religion. After the demise of the Ottoman Empire in Turkey, which claimed legitimacy from religion, the founders of modern Turkey decided it best to separate religion from politics in Turkey and in 1937 secularism was made a constitutional principle. The Ottoman Sultan who ruled through religion was replaced by the chairmanship of religious affairs that is responsible for only matters of the Muslim religion in Turkey.

The Muslim religion in Turkey

About 80% of people in Turkey follow the Sunni branch of the Islamic religion with most of the remainder belonging to the Alawi understanding of the Muslim religion. There are small minorities of Shia followers of the Muslim religion. All sects of the Muslim religion believe in One God and believe in the teachings of the prophets from other religions including Jesus, Moses and Abraham. All Muslims in Turkey view their religion as the completion of the same message revealed by other religions. The foundation of the Muslim religion is belief in One God and that Muhammad was the last messenger therefore Islam is the last divine religion. The book of the Muslim religion is the Quran which was revealed by God through Muhammad while he was in an inspired state. There are many old Qurans and manuscripts of religion in the museums of Turkey.

The Christian religion in Turkey

Members of other religions in Turkey only make up 1% of the population and most of these belong to the Christian religion. Armenians are the biggest community that follow the Christian religion in Turkey. Armenian followers of the Christian religion belong to one of three branches: Catholics, Protestants and Gregorian. Other branches of the Christian religion in Turkey are the Greek orthodox followers who live on the West of Turkey close to Greece, although there are also followers of the Byzantine Catholic religion in the same area of Turkey.

The Jewish religion in Turkey

There is a small community of followers of the Jewish religion in Turkey who live mainly around Istanbul and the west coast. These Sephardic Jews had lived in Spain until they fled to Turkey after being persecuted in Europe because of their religion. The followers of the Jewish Religion in Turkey number between 5-10,000 although they are free to practice their religion freely in Turkey without any trouble

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