Turkey defended a homophobic tweet by the head of the Turkish Red Crescent, describing him as a victim of "LGBT propaganda." Fahrettin Altun, Turkish presidency's communications director, said on Twitter that "LGBT propaganda poses a grave threat to freedom of speech," adding that the IFRC "became complicit in that attack by targeting" Kerem Kınık.
Turkey's Religious Affairs Directorate banned the killing of sacrifices in the streets and mandated that professional altars work on an appointment-only basis during the upcoming Eid al-Adha holiday. The directorate also issued a series of guidelines requiring safe distancing, wearing masks and health checks for professional altars.
Turkey's Religious Affairs Directorate (Diyanet) Foundation has reportedly purchased a private school founded by a religious cult in the capital Ankara. While the details of the purchase are not clear yet, the number of private schools belonging to the foundation increased to two. It previously purchased a school in the western province of İzmir.
Diyanet head Ali Erbaş has announced the resumption of five-time congregational prayers at mosques across Turkey. Mosques were only open for noon, afternoon and Friday prayers.
Turkish prosecutors have given 15 days to 11 executives of the Ankara Bar Association to submit their defenses over their criticism of Diyanet head Ali Erbaş's homophobic remarks in April.
Turkey's top cleric Ali Erbaş has announced that 1,003 animals will be sacrificed at mosques across the country to mark the resumption of communal prayers. As Turkey has started to ease containment measures, mosques will allow congregations for two daytime prayers (noon and afternoon) as well as Friday prayers starting on May 29.
Turkey’s top religious authority mandates masks and social distancing for worshippers as mosques reopen
Turkey's Religious Affairs Directorate (Diyanet) mandated facemasks and social distancing inside mosques, which will reopen after months of closure on May 29. The Diyanet also urged congregations to conduct mass prayers outside and visitors to perform ablutions at home, rather than at public sinks in mosques.
A member of Turkey’s media watchdog council said that the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) attempts at manipulating the news cycle no longer worked. The councilman noted that Ankara’s media outlets are ineffective as there is a dramatic gap between their narrative and the reality of the citizens’ lives.
This year, the May 19 celebrations in Turkey were held within homes due to the coronavirus lockdown. Nationalist and neo-nationalist accounts called for a united celebration at exactly 19:19 in the evening. Even Atatürk as a symbol seems to have been partially adopted by the AKP regime in order to create total control over the public.
CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has said that the government will change in the next elections since people will hand power to those advocating democracy. "The people are seeing that our beautiful country is not being governed properly and that we're heading downhill like a truck with no brakes. They also know that the only way to get rid of this course depends on their choice in the next elections," he said.
Turkish prosecutors have said they have not found any reason to start an investigation into Diyanet head Ali Erbaş over his comment that "homosexuality causes disease." The prosecutors' decision came as Amnesty International called on the Turkish gov't to take urgent action to counter the increasing number of discriminatory statements and policies by state officials against LGBTI people.
A sexual abuse survivor who was subjected to abuse by two men, with one being a religious official, said that the abuse had been ongoing for 12 years. Despite the criminal complaint, the religious official was not detained or arrested.
A religious official in the Kargı district of the northern province of Çorum was suspended from his post after sexually assaulting a minor with the driver of the district's mufti. The official, as well as the driver, were suspended following a criminal complaint filed by the child.
A group of unions and associations released a statement that condemned Turkey's top religious official Ali Erbaş for making comments that overstep the legal limitations on his position. The statement came shortly after a conflict between the Ankara Bar Association and Erbaş for his comments about adultery and homosexuality.
Gov’t plans to change bars’ election system amid rift over top religious official’s homophobic remarks
The ruling Justice and Development party (AKP) is planning to change the election system of bars amid a recent rift between the government and the bars over Diyanet head Ali Erbaş's homophobic remarks. One of the changes sought by the AKP is the election of bars' administration via proportional representation. The government also seeks to decrease the effectiveness of bars with a high number of lawyers, such as Ankara and Istanbul, in the Turkish Bar Associations elections.