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The status of religion in emergent political regimes: lessons from Turkey and Israel

Nations and Nationalism

Published online on


Why do some newly formed regimes incorporate religion in various dimensions of public affairs, while others relegate religious actors and content to the private sphere? This article offers an explanatory model with four key components that together determine the status of religion in newborn political regimes: (1) the pervasiveness of religion in the old order; (2) the overlap among different ingredients of national‐identity; (3) the constraints of demographic realities; and (4) the period before and during the formation of the new regime as critical juncture. The model is applied and tested in the cases of Israel and Turkey, which in many respects represent opposite trends – accommodation and marginalization, respectively – that produced broad and long‐term consequences for their respective political regimes.