Dismissal at Turkish religious foundation prompts wave of resignations
ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News | 12/27/2010 12:00:00 AM |
A remarkable shuffle was staged in the Women’s Activities Center of the Turkish Religious Affairs Foundation, whose 28 members resigned in reaction to the replacement of the center’s head, Ayşe Sucu. ‘We will participate in a new foundation with [Sucu]. We have not decided yet whether it will be a new association,’ deputy chairwoman of the center says
Twenty-eight members of the Women’s Activities Center of the Turkish Religious Affairs Foundation, or TDV, resigned Monday in reaction to the replacement of the center’s head, Ayşe Sucu.
“We will participate in a new foundation with [Sucu]. We have not decided yet whether it will be a new association, platform or other foundation,” Vildan Karabulut, deputy chairwoman of the TDV Women’s Activities Center, told reporters Monday.
After the TDV dismissed Sucu on Saturday, TDV head Necati Akçeşme issued a written statement saying the decision was due to restructuring in the organization. There have been claims, however, that the TDV removed Sucu because the board of trustees was uncomfortable with the center’s atheist and non-Muslim members, as well as their participation in some conferences.
Noting that Sucu was competent in her job, Karabulut said they would either favor her return to the restructured foundation or would choose to work with her in a new capacity.
Karabulut said Sucu started her work in 1996 with 15 to 20 women but had since made the center one of the most powerful women’s associations in the country with 12,000 members.
Sucu had made headlines in the past because of her style of wearing a headscarf, which leaves hair visible in fashion like late Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, and her statements that the Quran did not command women to wear headscarves.
Other civil society organizations, meanwhile, supported Sucu’s dismissal, saying her attitude and statements were “contradictory to the sayings of Islam and the structure of the foundation,” Lütfi Şenocak, chairman of Din-Bir-Sen said in a written statement Monday.
“How many people are familiar with Ayşe Sucu in the Religious Affairs Directorate? Whom has she served? Which employees of the foundation know this center? How many female religious people are there in her administration?” Şenocak asked, adding that “overreaction” to her dismissal stemmed from certain quarters.
“Some circles protected Ayşe Sucu since she has been interpreting Islam in the way they wanted,” Şenocak said.
“Islam does not change due to people, nobody should go that far interpreting Islam in their way,” he said, adding that the new restructuring in the foundation was very positive.