A Turkish imam working in the western province of İzmir’s Buca district has stated that someone from the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) Buca district office called and asked him to convince the members of the congregation of his mosque to attend President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s rally.
Imam Yusuf Kılıç told ANKA News Agency that “Two days ago, I got a call from the AKP Buca district office. They said they had a rally. They wanted me to gather the congregation of the mosque to (participate in Erdoğan’s) rally. They also asked me to allocate a car.”
Kılıç said he refused the request of the AKP members. “(After saying no,) the friend on the phone said to me with a harsh tone that 'Brother, I only want one thing from you. Are you saying yes or no to us?' I thought this would not be appropriate as a moral responsibility and within my duty as a civil servant. I said, 'No.' They turned off the phone.”
Kılıç said as an imam he does “not belong to a party. I just have a duty in the mosque to convey religion to people. If I bring some of the members of the congregation to rallies, it would be against the principle and purpose of this mosque. This is a huge problem for me and for society. Do not touch my mosque, do not touch my congregation. I love my job and my mosque. Please don't touch me.”
Erdoğan addressed citizens in İzmir’s Alsancak on April 29 as part of his election campaign.
The AKP government does not hesitate to use public resources in their favor during their election campaigns, including state media, ministries, governor’s offices, media watchdog RTÜK, creating a heavily unfair election process for the opposition parties.