The Permissible Scope of Legal Limitations on The Freedom of Religion or Belief in Turkey
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THE PERMISSIBLE SCOPE OF LEGAL LIMITATIONS ON THE FREEDOM OF RELIGION OR BELIEF IN TURKEY Ergun Ozsunay* A. ...Before the foundation of the Republic of Turkey (1923), the legal order of the Ottoman Empire was a religious law based on Islam. It was called Shari'a, holy law of Islam.1 The first movement of secularization in the Ottoman Empire began after 1839.2 During the "period of Tanzimat," several western codes, particularly major French laws, were adopted by the Ottoman Empire for westernization and secularization of its legal system. The new Turkish Republic, established on October 29, 1923, was based on the "principle of secularization." ...Ergun Ozsunay is Emeritus Professor of Comparative Law at Istanbul University Law School. At present, he is also Professor of EU Law at Istanbul Kultur University Law School, Turkish Delegate at the Steering Committee on Bioethics (CDBI) in the Council of Europe (Strsbourg), and Vice President of the International Association of Legal Science (Paris). He has written this Essay in collaboration with R. Murat Ozsunay. 1 See Ergun Ozsunay, Legal Science During The Last Century: Turkey, Inchieste Di Diritto Comparato, 6, Legal Science During The Last Century, Padova, 1976, pp.695 et seq.; Ergun Ozsunay, Religious Fundamentalism: Turkish Experience, in NACIONALISMO EN EUROPA, NACIONALISMO EN GALICIA, SIMPOSIO INTERNACIONAL CELEBRADO EN: PAZO DE MARINAN, A CORUNA 101-16 (1997). 2 Promulgation of the Decree on "Tanzimat" Reforms; see Niyazi Berkes, Teokrasi ve Laiklik [Theocracy and Secularism], Istanbul, 1984, pp 29 et seq.; Faik Bulut, Ordu ve Din [Military and Religion], Istanbul, 1995, pp.21 et seq.; Tarik Z.