Document Type

Social Sciences


The intersection of religion and politics in the form of a civil religion has been present since time immemorial. This paper looks specifically to the relationship between Turkey’s development of a secular civil religion after gaining independence and the advancing of women’s rights and democratic values. In examining the intersections of state and religion in a secular Islamic society, it draws parallels to the French civil religion as it came to be following the French Revolution. Though Atatürk and other secularists were strong forces in developing the civil religion, the paper also examines liberal democratic and conservative Islamic groups in Turkish society and their counterparts in the Turkish feminist movement of the past century. Between internal and external pressures, the secular Turkish civil religion has grown into a notable entity which has both helped and hindered the development of women’s rights and democratic norms.