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Alien Citizens: The State and Religious Minorities in Turkey and France, Ramazan Kilinç

Reviewed by Aubrey Westfall

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The protection of religious minorities tests a state’s enthusiasm for liberal democracy and human rights, making it a prerequisite for alliances or aid and an important subject of scholarship. Most research explores the treatment of religious minorities from a domestic perspective, examining the way modernization, history, ideology, or political strategy explains the degree and type of religious freedoms. Ramazan Kilinç’s contribution to this literature is a richly descriptive account of the way international and domestic conditions strategically interact to change the state policy toward religious minorities. Kilinç argues in Alien Citizens that scholarship focusing exclusively on domestic determinants of religious freedom neglects an important avenue of influence, as international contexts shape the policy debate by providing political opportunities for strategic interaction and demonstrating widespread commitment to norms.

Kilinç develops his argument through a comparative case study of France and Turkey, countries experiencing recent policy changes targeting Christians in Turkey and Muslims in France. For each case, he develops a historical narrative based on extensive research, content analysis of print media, and detailed examination of governmental and nongovernmental reports. The book proceeds in three sections,

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