Turkey’s Religious Affairs Directorate procures over $1M of camera equipment for TV channel

Turkey’s Religious Affairs Directorate (Diyanet) has procured camera equipment worth over 40 million Turkish liras for its media organization Diyanet TV, revealed recent reporting. The channel airs programs centered around Islam.

Religious Affairs Director Ali Erbaş tours the Diyanet TV control room

Duvar English

Turkey’s religious authority Diyanet has signed a camera equipment procurement deal worth over 40 million Turkish liras for its media organization Diyanet TV, according to Feb. 26 reporting by the daily BirGün. 

The religious publications department of the Directorate made a tender for Diyanet TV’s “camera, lens, and accessories” needs on Oct 18, 2023. Only one company, Teratek Electronics entered the tender. The deal was finalized on Feb. 22 for a total of 42.174.000 liras ($1.35 million).

HD studio camera heads, camera control units, HD wide-angle lenses, a crane system, studio screens, and a studio LED graphic system were bought through the tender. 

The religious authority had bought an additional 13.5 million liras worth of camera equipment back in September 2023 from the same company. 

Diyanet spent 9.7 billion liras in just the first month of the year. The directorate’s exorbitant spending has been criticized by opposition figures, as its budget has increased to surpass entire ministries over the years. 

The directorate’s 2024 budget was around 92 billion liras (3 billion dollars). 

Diyanet TV, the self-proclaimed “channel which always has prayers,” was established in 2012 as “TRT Diyanet” with the collaboration of the public broadcaster TRT and the Religious Affairs Directorate. 

Programming by the channel drew criticism in the past. For example, the Directorate's vice chair Burhan İşliyen targeted women during a 2022 program, saying that women were “committing haram” by not covering themselves enough, especially at wedding parties.

Another member of the Diyanet’s High Council had previously said that it was a “violation of the religious rules” for women to wear “tight trousers" in another broadcast of the channel. 

Diyanet TV launched the subchannel Diyanet Kids’ in 2021, which aimed to “contribute to children’s critical character development before the age of seven,” as director Ali Erbaş described. 

Diyanet Kids’ produces shows aimed at children with Islamic messages. Programs such as “Hymns for Children” and “Letters’ Village” teach children the Arabic alphabet, prayers, and pillars of Islam such as pilgrimage. 

The Diyanet’s joint ÇEDES (“I am sensitive to my environment, I claim my values”) project with the Education Ministry also involved students watching cartoons, films and plays on Diyanet TV. 

Students are taught “religious values and culture” geared specifically towards Sunni Islam in the project. As part of the program, Diyanet has also appointed religious counselors to many schools around Turkey to critics’ dismay. Various educators’ unions have criticized such collaboration as a violation of positivist and secular education principles.