What are the most important religions in Turkey?

The Turkish population consists of around 98% Muslims, of which 70% are Sunnis, 15 to 25%  Alevi’s and smaller groups of Shiites and Yezidis. The only minorities recognized by the government are Greek Orthodox, Armenian Christians and Sephardic Jews.

Of the religious festivals, only the Sacrifice Festival and the Sugar Festival were maintained as the national holiday.

Since 1923 there has been a separation between religion and state in Turkey. For example, government officials are not allowed to wear headscarves while working in government buildings. the constitution states very explicitly that religion must not have any influence on the state. That is why Islam has less influence on public life than in other Islamic countries. In addition, only 38 percent of Turkish Muslims pray more than once a week.

The practice of faith is also regarded as a personal matter and not as a collective. So there are Muslims who fast during Ramadan, but also a part that does not fast during Ramadan.

How do I behave in the mosque?

• Take off your shoes before entering

• Shoulders and knees must be covered

• Men must put their heads off and women must cover their hair with a scarf

• Do not eat anything

• Do not use a camera

• Stay away from believers

written by ILBE staff

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