Turkey’s Religious Affairs Director encourages youth to ‘hate traitors of nation’

Ali Erbaş, Turkey’s Religious Affairs Director, has urged the Muslim youth to “carry a deep hatred” against those who “betray their nation and government,” during an opening ceremony for a youth center. 

Duvar English

Turkey’s Religious Affairs (Diyanet) Director Ali Erbaş on Feb. 22 said he believed that the Muslim youth should “nurture deep hatred in their hearts against the traitors of the nation and government” during the opening ceremony of a youth center of the directorate in capital Ankara province. 

Erbaş said that the Religious Affairs Directorate brought up children who “loved their nation and government.” He believed that the youth should feel hate towards an evil they could not fix, one of which was betraying the nation. “This is the standard our Prophet Mohammed has set for us,” Erbaş concluded. 

Erbaş said in the opening speech that the Directorate has opened over 211,000 Quran courses for ages 4-6 in all provinces of Turkey. He added that over 1.5 million children were taught basic religion and spiritual values in these courses. 

The directorate was placing more emphasis on more youth centers, according to Erbaş. He said that 1,723 spiritual counselors worked in dormitories, book clubs, and reading rooms to assist the youth. 

Turkey's Quran courses are not monitored by the Education Ministry as of 2012 and have been a topic of controversy as child deaths and sexual abuse cases surfaced. 

The Directorate has assumed the role of a state apparatus under the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government and kept in line with the party’s talking points. It often collaborates with the Education Ministry to offer “counseling” services across the country’s schools. 

Over the years, the Directorate has amassed a significant budget that surpasses some ministries. Around three billion dollars are allocated to the Diyanet for 2024.