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Controlling Religion in Secular Turkey

The founders of modern Turkey thought the best way to keep Islam from competing with government was to take it over. Now critics say the country’s president is using his power not to control religion, but to promote the religion of the majority: Sunni Islam. We begin with the story of ‘Fatma,’ an Alevi Muslim…

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Turks can’t read much of their own history, but the drive to change that isn’t popular with everyone

“Our children will learn Ottoman whether they like it or not!” Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, recently put students on notice with that declaration. It’s the latest in a long line of pronouncements that Erdogan’s critics say are evidence the president is becoming more and more anti-democratic — even authoritarian. But looking back to Ottoman rule could play well, as I discovered…