Introduction to the Case Study on Turkey and the General Turkish Legal Framework Pertaining to the Right to Freedom of Religion or Belief
This chapter describes the state-religion relations in Turkey and presents the general Turkish legal framework for the protection of the right to freedom of religion or belief. Turkey is party to a significant number of universal and regional human rights treaties. The Lausanne Peace Treaty, besides being the founding document of modern Turkey, is a key Treaty that establishes the minority protection regime for Turkey's non-Muslim communities. The 1982 Turkish Constitution embodies key elements that reflect Turkey's approach toward religion and manifestations of religion. The concept of Turkish secularism, laiklik, in the Turkish Constitution as a legal principle must be explored and understood for the overall purpose of the study because of its conceptual significance and its powerful functional effect in jurisprudence. The constitutional and institutional arrangement concerning the Diyanet constitutes a key issue for the understanding of state-religion relationship as well as the protection of freedom of religion or belief in Turkey.