Teaching Religion at Turkish Public Schools: A Theme Oscillating between Faith, Culture, and Politics

Furat A. Z.

Ilahiyat Studies, vol.11, no.2, pp.221-252, 2020 (Journal Indexed in ESCI)

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 11 Issue: 2
  • Publication Date: 2020
  • Doi Number: 10.12730/13091719.2020.112.209
  • Title of Journal : Ilahiyat Studies
  • Page Numbers: pp.221-252


Since the proclamation of the Turkish Republic in 1923, many aspects of religious education in public schools, namely, those related to the status of religion courses, have been intensely discussed. However, developing sustainable policies that meet societal and political changes has not always been an achievable goal. This is evident from the interminable renewals of religious education curricula, which always evoke the same debate: “What should be the essence of religious education in public education? Should it aim to teach religion as a practice of faith, or should it approach religion as a cultural concept?” Focusing on this ongoing debate, this paper aims to offer an in-depth analysis of the Turkish endeavor to reconcile religious education with the secular schooling system. This paper concludes that these responses, although presented as part of pedagogical paradigm shifts, have not been impervious to the political turbulence in Turkey.