Turkey is a secular country. Its secularism is derived from Mustafa Kemal Atatürk’s Six Arrows, which are republicanism, populism, reforms, nationalism, and statism. While the secularism of Turkey may be criticized by some, most people consider it a positive thing.
Islam is one of the most widely practiced religions in Turkey. The religion first entered the country in the 11th century when the Seljuks began expanding their empire across eastern Anatolia. The following centuries saw the growth of other religions, but Islam quickly established itself in the country. Today, Islam is the dominant religion in Turkey.
The Turkish press has centered on irtica, a word with an Arabic root meaning “religious reaction,” which refers to obscurantism. The media has reported on several instances where irtica is practiced. In addition to this, imams and hocas urged their followers to stay true to Islam, and men and women were not allowed to sit in the same classrooms. During the early Republican period, the state began to impose stricter laws on religious practice. However, independent religious brotherhoods continued to operate clandestinely.
The Armenian Church in Turkey is now being used as a cultural center by local Armenian Christians. The government has also taken steps to return confiscated property to Armenian owners. Patriarch Masalyan has declared that the church is a symbol of peace and unity. He praised the efforts of local officials for the restoration of the church.
However, the Armenian Church in Turkey is under threat of collapse. Although it was transferred to private property after the establishment of the Republic of Turkey, it has been a target of treasure hunters for years. The condition of the church is causing a great deal of concern among local residents. The church’s condition might hinder its ability to serve as a tourist attraction for the city.
Greek Orthodox Church
The Greek Orthodox Church in Turkey is a self-governing Orthodox church based in Istanbul. It has direct jurisdiction over Church heritage in Turkey. The government permits the Church to interact with cultural heritage sites in Turkey and in Cyprus. While the Church is not permitted to operate on the island, some Greek Orthodox believers are interested in visiting the island.
Turkey has been accused of systematic expropriation of Greek Orthodox Church property. Despite the fact that the process is legal, it is preventing the country from fulfilling its commitments made at the Helsinki conference. The laws against religious institutions have sinister motives and seem to be aimed at eradicating the Greek Orthodox from Turkey. As a result, the government needs to make religious institutions exempt from their foundation laws.
The Armenian Patriarch in Turkey was elected in a two-round election in early December. Candidates could only run for the position if they were native Turkish citizens. This requirement effectively blocked 10 candidates from running. One of these candidates, cleric Sebuh Shouldjian, is well-known in Armenia. Patriarch Mesrob declared himself “retired” in October. In response, Archbishop Aram sought the permission of the government to run. However, the process dragged on for nearly nine years.
The Patriarchate also publishes an annual review in Armenian, called the Shoghagat. It contains articles on theology, liturgy, history, and culture. Another publication, Lraper, is a weekly illustrated bulletin that is published in Armenian and Turkish.