President criticizes Turkey’s top religious body for ‘being late’ in struggle against Gülenists
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan speaks during an event in Istanbul - AA photo.President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has criticized Turkey’s top religious body for “being late” in the struggle against the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ) of U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen.
Erdoğan said the Religious Affairs Directorate (Diyanet) was notified on the issue “countless times” but “efforts were delayed.”
“The raising of generations with knowledge in their minds and faith in their hearts has always been a fearful dream for some. There were some who couldn’t accept religious vocational [imam-hatip] schools.
They were worried that a different generation might emerge. Just for this reason, the educational system was turned upside-down. FETÖ exploited this weakness and became a trouble for our country. I would like to say that our Diyanet has serious deficiencies on this issue,” Erdoğan told students from the east and southeast of the country at an event organized by the Diyanet in Istanbul’s Zeytinburnu district on Aug. 5.
“We made these warnings from squares countless times and conveyed them in our private meetings. But the Diyanet was late in efforts, especially in the east and southeast,” he also said.
Erdoğan’s criticisms came only days after Diyanet head Mehmet Görmez, who had led the institution for the past seven years, announced his resignation on July 30.
Meanwhile, President Erdoğan also commented on the ongoing trials into the failed July 15, 2016 coup attempt, widely believed to have been orchestrated by followers of the U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen, saying the suspects have been “lying in courts.”
“They’ve been lying in the trial process. They say ‘It’s not me,’ even though the footage is there, because lying is legitimate for them. They are hypocrites and have many lies. They tore the ummah [Islamic believers] apart like this. However, a lie never lives to be old,” he said.