As the inheritor of this legacy, Erdoğan and his AK Party have faced an uphill battle to deepen Turkey’s democratic institutions and culture. Their moves to bolster civilian rule have positive implications for respecting international human rights norms, including religious freedom.
When it comes to religious minorities, however, Turkey’s record remains disappointing.
Today, however, it is the state’s dense web of regulations that most threatens Turkey’s religious minorities.
Elizabeth H. Prodromou serves as Vice Chair of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF). Nina Shea serves as a USCIRF Commissioner. Both authors traveled to Turkey in February 2011 as part of a USCIRF delegation.