Turkey's top religious body given authority to conduct workshops on ‘morals, values’ for students

The Directorate of Religious Affairs (Diyanet) has signed a new protocol with the Education Ministry and Youth and Sports Ministry, giving it authority to conduct workshops on “morals and values” for students.

Diyant head Ali Erbaş is seen holding a sermon in this file photo.

Duvar English

A new cooperation protocol that the Directorate of Religious Affairs (Diyanet) has struck with the Education Ministry and Youth and Sports Ministry further extends the state body's influence over students, according to reporting by the daily Birgün.  

The protocol has been signed as part of the project “I am sensitive to my environment, I protect my values” (ÇEDES) which paved the way for Diyanet personnel to give students a training called “Education of Values.” The protocol has also made it possible for Diyanet personnel to come together with students’ parents once a month.

Within the framework of ÇEDES project, Diyanet has been given the authority to run “Cultural Festivals” with the support of the Education Ministry. Diyanet personnel, assigned by the local mufti’s offices, will take on roles at these “festivals” that will take place at Diyanet Youth Centers.

The project will also make it possible for the Diyanet to conduct special activities in the quake zone. The Education Ministry’s General Directorate of Religious Education will take on an active role in the activities held in the quake zone with the theme being “Compassion” and “Altruism.”

The project will facilitate students in the quake zone to participate in the works of the Disaster and Emergency Authority (AFAD), Turkish Red Crescent (Kızılay), Turkish Green Crescent (Yeşilay) and Diyanet Foundation. Among the workshops that will be held will be ones such as “Examples of values from our Prophet.”

Education expert Ali Taştan commented on the protocol, deeming it an “operation of religionizing education.” He said that there are several organizations and NGOs working in the area of environmental sensitivity, finding it not right for Diyanet personnel to handle the issue.

He said that the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government has been handing teachers’ authority to Diyanet or affiliated foundations with such protocols. “The only people in authority at schools are teachers,” he said.