The Islamization of Turkey’s educational system to achieve certain political gains for Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s AK Party has resulted in different outcomes, as the faith of many Turkish citizens have been diminishing.
Turkish journalist and a daily columnist revealed in an article published at the Hürriyet newspaper that a wide research study conducted by Optimar Research Company between May 7 and 14 in 26 cities over 3 thousand and 500 people shows that Turkey’s Muslim population is not 99 percent anymore.
The study results revealed that the 99 percent figure has receded to reach 89.5 percent, with 4.5 percent who do not believe in religions, 2.7 percent agnostics and 1.7 atheists.
Süleyman Karan, spokesperson of the Atheism Association in Turkey, said “using religion” is the main reason why atheism rates have been growing, especially that the Turkish president described them during his presidential campaign in Feb. 2014 as terrorists.
Karan added that using religion as a tool to achieve political gains started back in the 50s, and only increased dramatically after the AK Party reached power.
“They fully turned this religious peddling into a political tool. The West’s project of ‘moderate Islam’ evolved to become what the AKP is today.
“A large segment of Turkey is what I would call ‘fairweather Muslims.’ They create a relationship with God on their own terms. They do not fulfill the religious duties that Islam imposes. They say, “Thank God I am Muslim,” they fast for religious holidays, but they also drink alcohol—which is forbidden in Islam. But Islam is a religion that necessitates abiding by religious strictures. Fairweather Muslims are actually deists,” he added.
A recent study conducted at Düzce University, garnered a lot of attention in Turkey.
The study found that Turkish youth were increasingly moving towards deism, which holds that God exists, but does not interfere directly with the created world, a belief that contradicts Islamic teachings.
When the results of the study were announced and the percentage of youth who reported having “religious doubts” was revealed as 12 percent in religious schools and 30 percent in overall high schools. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan did not take this well. “This is unacceptable!” he said.