The establishment of religious training academies under the purview of the Turkish Directorate of Religious Affairs (Diyanet) is at the top of the governmental agenda this year. Some 93 million Turkish Liras have already been spent on the establishment and development of these schools, called “Diyanet Academies,” in the past three years, said daily Birgün on Sept. 23.
“The bill regarding the establishment of a religious academy” is at the top of the agenda for the Turkish government this year and is expected to be presented to the Grand National Assembly at the beginning of the legislative year. The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has spearheaded the bill and is pushing for its swift passage, which would allow for the formal establishment of Diyanet-run institutions for the training of religious leaders and personnel.
Despite the bill’s awaiting approval, 93 million Turkish Liras have already been spent on the construction, maintenance, and repair of these institutions in the last three years. Most of the centers are already constructed, and the government is speeding up legal approval of the bill so that they can begin to admit students.
It was in 2020 that the most money was spent on Diyanet education. Over the course of the year, the government spent 13.7 million Turkish Lira on a training center in Harput in eastern Turkey - the project’s total cost is 69.2 Turkish Liras.
Another 35.4 million Turkish Liras were spent on a training center in the western province of Denizli in 2019 and millions more were spent on centers in Istanbul, Ankara, and the eastern province of Elazığ. The Elazığ training center will be built on a 16 thousand square meter plot of land.
After the passage of this bill, one will be required to graduate from one of these schools to become a religious official in Turkey. When these schools first open, Diyanet will begin by training its extant religious personnel. After these personnel are trained in “Diyanet academies,” the religious directorate will then begin training new recruits.