SAM Papers No 02:
Religion and Secularism in the Modern World: A Turkish Perspective


This policy brief presents an alternative perspective on the relationship between religion and politics by employing an inter-disciplinary framework. Identifying two problematic approaches to the role of religion in modern world – viewing religion as an artifact of the past and neglecting the everyday realities of religion – the author proposes to view religion from a more comprehensive perspective and rejects the arguments that juxtapose religion and secularization. He argues that the Muslim world, which is going through a process of evaluating its own age, manifests different forms of secularism, though in an unconventional sense. The author also dwells on various ramifications of religion in contemporary political developments and maintains that religion needs to be taken into consideration while developing policies for addressing the root causes of tensions and conflicts that arise at the national and international levels. He discusses the growing religious divide and polarization in Turkey’s neighborhood, maintaining that Turkey’s interpretation of religion in the contemporary age, emanating from its own tradition, offers a viable alternative.

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