A Muslim Country?

Is Turkey a Muslim country?  According to the CIA World Factbook, 99.8% of people in Turkey are Muslim (people who practice the religion Islam).  Women who are Muslim normally wear head coverings and men who are Muslim generally wear beards.  Of course, people who are less religious might not follow these practices, but many do.  However, while I was in Turkey I learned that in public schools and government buildings, women are not allowed to wear head scarves and men are not allowed to wear beards.  The government wants to keep religion out of public spaces, but they are doing this by restricting people’s religious practice.  This seems sad to me. Shouldn’t people get to choose how they want to dress and practice their religion?

When I walked down the streets in Turkey, I saw people of all shapes and sizes, light skin and dark skin, covered heads and modern dress.  Like America, Turkey is a diverse country!  Take a peek:

Turkey is a crossroads country between Europe and Asia, so it has a long history for both Christians and Muslims.  I saw many mosques throughout my travels, but I also saw churches, from very ancient to more modern:


I also got to go inside a few mosques, some of them very famous:

Overall, I don’t think that Turkey should be defined as a Muslim country, even though many people are Muslim.  People are people. If we only see their religion, we miss out on lots of other aspects of who they are.  Even so, I loved learning about the things they find sacred, and how Muslims practice their religion. Here’s one of my favorite photos that I took on my last day in Istanbul, which I think shows the contrast between the old and the new, as well as the religious and the secular. As you can see, mosques are only one part of the landscape of Turkey.

Categories: Turkey

Tagged as: ,

8 replies »

  1. this is pretty interesting.
    based on what you said about the Turkish people not being able to practice their religion (:'( i agree, it’s very sad), does that mean that Turkey isn’t as free as America?
    i like the video and the photos, they’re so cool!!! and, like you said, i agree, i do think the last photo shows the past, and modern Turkey.
    can’t wait to read more blog posts!

  2. I agree with what you said about not the muslims not being able to practice their religion in public spaces. That is very sad :(. Also, I thought that your last photo with the truck in front of the mosque was quite interesting. It was very cool to see how the old and the new mix. I look forward to being able to watch your videos when you entered the famous mosques. ( My FlashPlayer isn’t really working very well at the moment.)

  3. In turkey head coverings are not freedom on the contrary they are captivity, especially for the little girls. Some of the turkish families put pressure on them and make them wear head coverings. That ban was protecting their individual rights and freedoms. But last year that ban has lifted, superficially we have more freedom(!) Of course these are not viable for most of turkish families. Anyway, as a result you have to know social organism before comenting on something. There will be grammer mistakes, sorry for them.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s