Menzil cult leaders acquire lots in housing draw for Turkey's quake-hit region

Three leaders of the radical Islamist Menzil cult in Turkey’s eastern Adıyaman province have won earthquake apartments built by the Turkish Housing Agency (TOKİ) through the draw system. The draw raised suspicions as seven of the 13 winners of the village were from the cult’s leading family. 

Three "co-sheikhs" of the Menzil cult, Elhüseyni brothers

Duvar English

Brothers and leaders of the radical Islamist Menzil cult in Turkey’s eastern Adıyaman province Muhammed Saki, Muhammed Mubarek, and Muhammed Fettah Elhüseyni were among the few Turkish Housing Authority (TOKİ) draw winners in their neighborhood, according to reporting by the daily BirGün

The Turkish Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) on Feb. 8 organized the lot draw for the earthquake residences built in Adıyaman with the participation of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. The province was heavily affected by the 2023 Feb. 6 earthquakes. 

19 individual lots were drawn for the districts of the province, in proportion to the entries. For the Göçeri neighborhood draw of the Kahta province, 13 winners were selected to receive the three-bedroom apartments. 

Among those 13, seven individuals were from the cult’s leader Elhüseyni family. Three were the brothers who assumed “co-sheikh” positions in the cult after their father Abdulbaki Elhüseyni’s death in July 2023. 

The draw results found on the AFAD website list seven winners from the Elhüseyni family of the Menzil cult.

Insider sources said to BirGün that the affluent Menzil leaders and their relatives did not need the earthquake residences, as their homes had not collapsed or even been damaged in the Feb. 6 quakes. 

Erdoğan had met with leading figures of the Menzil cult as he visited the province on the anniversary of the earthquakes. The cult maintains close relationships with the government and politicians. After the previous leader’s death, Erdoğan shared a condolence message deeming him “the spiritual leader of our country.” 

The legitimacy of the TOKİ draws was already in question, as figures close to the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) had won residences that were meant for low-income earthquake survivors. 

Cevahir Asuman Yazmacı, AKP deputy from southeastern Şanlıurfa province, and former deputy Şamil Tayyar were among the recent fortunate winners of the draws. Tayyar rescinded his right after criticisms. 

The cult is known for its grandiose development in the eponymous Menzil village. The village has turned into an autonomous religious center for the cult’s followers, obtaining disproportionate funding from other villages in the province. 

Some sections of the village are segregated based on gender. The local government is populated by cult members, from Mukhtar to the sanitation department. 

Upon former leader Abdülbaki Erol’s death, Turkish Airlines (THY) had scheduled flights at 15-minute intervals to Adıyaman province for the funeral. Around 250,000 people attended the funeral prayer in the remote village, including Great Unity Party (BBP) Chair Mustafa Destici. 

The cult’s name has been brought up many times in recent years after the suspicious death of children in the cult’s so-called education facilities.