The conceptual pair of “Religion and Politics” has been
discussed in the last century excessively. In the last years, this discussion
has been knotted around the concept of “public sphere”. This situation becomes
one of the focus points of the entrance process to European Union, which brings
about many new debates on this theme.

As a concept of political philosophy, “public sphere” finds its
place among the actual discussions. It plays a definitive role before the
election of state presidency and the search for a new place for the religion out
of the drawn lines around this concept leads to a new deterioration of the
relations between religion, politics, state and society.

Actually, religion is a universal phenomenon faced in every
society and every periods of history. It is also a discipline surrounding human
being inwardly and outwardly, and reflecting itself on the ideas and behaviors
of people. The last holy religion Islam comprises also ethical, judicial and
social rules shaping the worldly life of man very different than Christianity.
Politics represents not the daily politics but the whole of the mechanism
regulating these judicial and social rules, government, political power etc.
These two social institutions –religion and state- even function for a shared
duty as the regulator of the social life. But, while fulfilling this task,
different approaches on these institutions bring these institutions to an
opponent positions in many respects. On the one side, a part of the society
desiring to make every duties and orders of the religion in their individual and
social life freely; on the other side, a mechanism prohibiting this with a
number of reflexive movements, and desiring to keep the concept of religion in
the outside realm of his own place. How to overcome this contest awaits already
an answer; since many institutions claim that “the relations between
religion-state-society in Turkey is one of the problematic areas within the
democratisation movement in the European Union process.” This problem expects
also to overcome within the framework of religious and conscience freedom.

According to the modern understanding accepted also by the
countries of European Union, the religion and conscience freedom means generally
that people are free to choose their religions. After their choice, they are
also free to applicate the rules of their own religions without any
intervention, and to be able to use the rights they have on this subject (teach,
study, spreading, inspiration etc.). The dominant political power in our country
has different definitions and applications of secularism and public sphere,
which is constricting this sphere. The reasons for this constriction should be
examined and a common solution should be offered.

The concept of public sphere serves in the West to provide for a
very vast places for democracy and freedom and thus to constitute an open
society. Whereas in Turkey, this concept causes the opposite as restricting the
freedoms relating to the beliefs. This fact makes a question always actual: how
would the relations between state and society normalize in our country which are
already damaged?

Considering all of these facts, we decide our dossier subject in
the 99th issue as “The Relations between Religion-Politics-Society in Public
Sphere”. We plan to examine this issue around the concepts as “religion,
politics, state, society, public sphere, law, justice, democracy,
democratisation, civil society, European Union, political Islam, laicism,
backwardness” and ask the following questions:

What is the public sphere? What are the limits of this concept
from the point of the view of the political philosophy and sociology? How can we
interpret the exclusion of the religion our of these limits from the point of
view of freedom of religion and conscience? What should be the limits of the
political influence of the politics and its institutions upon the religious
institutions? What are the means for the existence of these two institutions in
society without preventing the religious freedom and the application of the
religious beliefs? How are these problems overcome in the West? How does the
West approach to these issues? What should be as the defining and protective
factor within the many different perspectives as
“private-civil-public-political” for the practicability of religion? What is the
significance of the state of law for these concepts? Is religion only a matter
of conscience between the person and the existence he believes in? What are the
limits of the worldy side of religion for the concepts as society-political
power considering that religion has a social dimension over the individiual
life, and also a worldly side over the moral side?

In this issue, we will read the anatomy of mentality that calls
the concept of “public sphere” to assistance in a dressing issue as head scarf.
Also, Nazmi Eroglu’s article have some insights to the traditionalization of a
restricting approach to beliefs by the state. The existence of Bediüzzaman who
argues a liberalist understanding as the current modern societies against the
one dimensional liberal understanding of Abdullah Cevdet is an important source
of experience to benefit during the process of our country to become a state of
law. We hope that you can find in this issue the unfolding of this experience,
the answer of the question of how the multi-religious and multi-cultural
societies could live together without any conflict, and the basics of a
democratic society.

We are very excited to reach our 100th issue and hope to prepare
a very special issue for the anniversary.