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Population: Muslim 99.8% (mostly Sunni), other 0.2% (mostly Christians and Jews)

Islam and the state: Constitutionally Turkey is a secular state. The powerful military are guardians of this tradition. The military deposed the civilian government in coups in 1960, 1971 and 1980. In between, it has maintained a dominating role over civilian governments. Most recently, the military was behind the removal of the country's first Islamist government in 1997.

Turkey is currently governed by the Justice and Development Party, which has Islamist roots but styles itself as conservative, drawing comparisons with European Christian Democratic parties. The contradiction between the strictly secular constitution and the Muslim population has led to some restrictions on religious freedom such as a ban on girls wearing headscarves at government schools for example.


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