This article aims to show how exchanges.between religion and secularism, Islam and democracy and cross-cultural relations over many years have shaped Turks' perception of Islam and their position towards freedom of religion and co-existence of different faith communities. Muslims are generally attributed a monolithic identity marked by intolerance despite the fact that they have considerable diversity in their understanding of Islam and its practice. The Turkish case challenges such essentialist views
by demonstrating that despite some isolated events, Turkey succeeds in managing religious diversity because the perception of Islam has developed in connection with a variety of current and historical events. The perception that emerged in the course of Turkish cultural and political history provides strong grounds for peaceful co-existence within the shared social order. Turkey's achievement in establishing a political culture and a perception of Islam that facilitates religious pluralism can be attributed to factors as such democracy and secularism and Turkey's efforts to join the European Union.