Religious Affairs Directorate
Run by Turkey's Directorate of Religious Affairs (Diyanet), the Islamic Research Center (İSAM) has seen a 600-percent increase in its budget over the last 16 years. Known for holding a symposium about Islamic fatwas on medical issues, the foundation is chaired by a founding member of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).
Turkish Education Ministry has urged its personnel to attend a symposium on Hagia Sophia organized by the Religious Affairs Directorate (Diyanet) and scheduled to be held in Istanbul on Sept. 30 upon the religious body's request. The ministry sent a notice to all provincial and district directorates to ensure attendance.
An imam has lost his life after being forced to touch several bodies of COVID-19 victims without his hazmat suit on in the southeastern province of Şanlıurfa, Yeni Yaşam daily reported on Aug. 31. The imam's wife said that she thinks the mufti's office forced her husband to work with COVID-19 victims because he had entered a conflict with the office before.
Turkey’s top religious authority’s district office ‘seizes employees’ premiums to purchase official vehicle’
A district office of Turkey's Directorate of Religious Affairs (Diyanet) confiscated employees' premiums of over thousand liras to raise funds for an official vehicle. The district mufti's office notified employees of their claim over premiums via text message.
Turkey’s top religious body head defends delivering sermon with a sword during prayers at Hagia Sophia
The head of Turkey's Religious Affairs Directorate (Diyanet), Ali Erbaş, has defended delivering the Friday sermons at Hagia Sophia with a sword in hand, saying that it's a "widespread practice." "The fact that the sermon is delivered like is to announce that Hagia Sophia was converted into a mosque and to give a message regarding conquest," he said.
Taner Akçam writes: The regime’s bold stroke vis-a-vis Hagia Sophia should not be seen as stemming from desperation. Rather, it is simply meant to relay the not-so-subtle message of the path to be followed by the "New Republic", and that message is that the “annihilationist tradition” of the old regime, inherited by the Republic’s founders, will be retained in the era to come.
There is a need for a segment that will wear the outfit shown at the podium in Hagia Sophia in neighborhoods. The soul and the spirit that has been infused into the AKP government has to have reciprocity in the streets. The sword at the Hagia Sophia mosque opening will turn into a stick if needed.
Presidential spokesperson İbrahim Kalın has said that triggering debates on establishing a caliphate and regime change aims to divert Turkey from its goals. "We can never accept damning [someone] at a place like Hagia Sophia as a correct approach. Neither our president nor our friends had such an attitude," Kalın said on Diyanet head Erbaş's remarks.
Thousands of people have called on Diyanet head Ali Erbaş to resign after his remarks that "damned" the country's founding father, Atatürk. Erbaş, whose Islamist statements often draw ire, on July 24 caused outrage for giving a sermon at Hagia Sophia that included apparent damning of Atatürk.
Not practically, but theoretically the recent scene at Hagia Sophia was not un-reminiscent of Al Baghdadi’s Mosul Friday sermon. This is not who we are. We must be better than this and we are better than this. The year is 2020.
Turkey's Religious Affairs Directorate (Diyanet) head Ali Erbaş delivered the Friday sermon at Hagia Sophia with a sword in hand, presenting an Ottoman tradition of conquest. Two green flags were also hung on the pulpit of the mosque as a symbol of conquest.
Dinçer Demirkent writes: Comparisons between July 15 and the Turkish War of Independence, attempts to define it a “new war of independence” or brand it as a symbol of the new regime have all failed. President Erdoğan's efforts to establish political hegemony and found new institutions had already expired by the time of the attempted coup.
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.
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.