President Erdoğan Defends Secularism After Remarks By Parliament Speaker

erdddPresident Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on April 27 that the state should have an equal distance from all religious faiths, following Parliament Speaker İsmail Kahraman’s call for Turkey’s new constitution to drop all references to secularism.

In televised comments during his official visit to Zagreb, Erdoğan said Kahraman had simply “expressed his opinion” on the new constitution debate.

He stressed that secularism was the idea that the state maintained “an equal distance from all belief groups,” and suggested that debates on the issue only distracted the country’s agenda.

Kahraman had sparked outrage late on April 25 by suggesting that the principle of secularism “must be removed” from Turkey’s constitution.

“As a Muslim country, why should we be in a situation where we are retreating from religion? We are a Muslim country. So we must have a religious constitution,” he said.