Turkish court bans theologian’s Quran translation after Diyanet’s application

A Turkish court has ruled a ban on the sale of a Quran translation prepared by liberal Islamic theologian İhsan Eliaçık. The decision came following an application of the Directorate of Religious Affairs (Diyanet).

Duvar English

A Turkish court has banned the sale of the book "Yaşayan Kur’an Türkçe Meal-Tefsir" by liberal Islamic theologian İhsan Eliaçık. The book's previously issued copies will also be collected as per the decision. 

“Meal” means the translation of Quran, the holy book of Islam, into languages other than Arabic. A “tefsir,” on the other hand, means the explanation and interpretation of the Quran in order to provide context or commentary for the reader’s clear understanding.

The reason given for the ban decision was that the book "contains elements that are objectionable in terms of the fundamental qualities of Islam."

The decision came following an application filed by the Directorate of Religious Affairs (Diyanet) which argued that the book violated its 2019-dated regulation on the "Quran translations." 

Eliaçık reacted to the court's decision on his social media account and said it was arbitrary. In his post, Eliaçık said that the Diyanet has already started collecting and destroying the book.

“This (Diyanet's) regulation, published in 2019, clearly violates Article 26 of the Constitution, which regulates the freedom of expression and dissemination of thought," he wrote. 

Eliaçık continued as follows: "In my opinion, the Diyanet's translation (of Quran), and even the Diyanet itself, violates the fundamental qualities of Islam. This decision shows that the one-man rule is turning into a religious dictatorship."

According to the Diyanet regulation in question, the institution determines itself as the sole authority to control translations and explanations prepared by other theologians. If Diyanet finds the work "undesirable," it applies to the court to have it removed from circulation.