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Religious Policies in Turkey – the service of Diyanet: Hüseyin Çiçek on Deutschlandfunk

source: Deutschlandfunk

In the article “Religious Policies in Turkey – The service of Diyanet”which appeared January 17th 2019 on Deutschlandfunk, EZIRE employee Hüseyin Çiçek comments on the Turkish religious authority Diyanet.

Regarding the assumption, the foundation of Diyanet would also have aimed to control religion by the state, as many conservative Muslims were skeptical of Atatürk’s secular tendencies and feared that their religious life would be impaired, Çiçek comments: “As long as the Believers are not explicitly opposed to the secular course of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, there was actually no problem. They were able to believe everything they wanted in their own four walls relatively freely. However, there was no public outcry. ” Nonetheless, there were persecutions and partial executions of many conservatives and clerics defying the reforms. The religion was integrated as a government-controlled component in the nation state, which is why the Dyanet until today has a monopoly position against all Turkish-Islamic movements and associations.


Hüseyin Çiçek sees the Diyanet in a permanent dependence on the political program of the respective government. From the beginning to the present, there is a continuity of the Diyanet always standing behind the Turkish state facing domestic and foreign policy challenges.


What is missing is the willingness of the Diyanet, which is often based on very conservative ideas, to seriously engage with the present, says Çiçek. “What one would have to demand from the Diyanet, so to speak, would be, of course, a cosmopolitan Islam, an Islam that promotes democratic development or democracy. So in terms of human rights, gender issues and so on, that means taking a clear stand here and demanding diversity and human rights, no matter for whom. “