Turkey's Islamist New Welfare Party leader Fatih Erbakan, who is the son of former prime minister Necmettin Erbakan, has described the criticism of cult-run dormitories as “ill-intentioned smear campaign,” after many people pointed out the disturbing influence of religious cults in the education system.
A discussion about shutting down Islamic sects in Turkey was initiated following the death of medical student Enes Kara, who committed suicide after describing oppression in a cult-run dormitory in the eastern province of Elazığ on Jan. 10.
Erbakan argued that holding the cults responsible for this suicide is deliberately distorting the facts.
“In these ill-intentioned smear campaigns, we see … efforts to abolish the activities of cults and in fact to raise materialistic generations that they envisage in their minds,” he said at a weekly press conference at his party's headquarters on Jan. 20.
“Will we shut down all universities when a university student commits suicide?” he asked.
“They brought the issue to the point of, ‘The cause of this death is the cults’. We're having a hard time understanding this crooked logic,” he said.
“Of course, we feel sorry for our young man who passed away, but we do not find it right to bring the discussion to such a point.”
The insufficient number of state-run dormitories in Turkey is pushing students to find accommodation at dormitories affiliated with religious cults. Experts have been for years calling on the government to expropriate these cult-run dormitories.