Duvar EnglishIslamist doctor defending polygamy over divorce booted from post amid public discomfort
Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca has refuted reports that a religious cult is active within the ministry, while also promising to fight all cults.
"The citizens should know that we will be against all mindsets that are controlled by others and that we will struggle against them," Koca said in an interview on Oct. 18 when asked whether the Menzil cult is active in the ministry.
The minister's remarks came after Ali Edizer, a deputy chief physician, was removed from his post after defending Islamist polygamy on social media. His links to the Menzil cult surfaced later on, adding to the years-long suspicion that the religious group is active in the ministry.
The relations of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) with religious cults have been a subject of debate in Turkey for many years, especially after the July 15, 2016 attempted coup - widely believed to have been orchestrated by U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen, an ally-turned-foe of the AKP and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
The botched coup that killed over 250 people followed years of Gülenist infiltration in state institutions. The government is currently being criticized for not distancing itself from Islamist groups and letting cults fill the gap in state institutions that opened after widespread dismissals of Gülenists.
One of those groups is Menzil, which is said to be active mainly in the Health Ministry. Opposition voices have been warning against the Menzil group infiltrating into the state similar to Gülenists.Turkish Interior Minister slams reports of religious cults' infiltration into state as 'provocations'