Turkey’s top religious body renews duties of units, establishes new department
Turkey’s top religious body has made major changes to the duties of all of its units, while also forming a new department to focus on migration and moral support.
According to a directive issued by the Religious Affairs Directorate (Diyanet), the new unit called “Department of Migration and Moral Support Services” will plan its religious services with relevant institutions and authorities in times of crises, daily Milliyet reported on Aug. 14.
Diyanet’s move comes after President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan criticized the body for being late in the struggle against the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ), widely believed to have been behind the July 15, 2016, failed coup attempt.
Another recent change in the Diyanet was the resignation of its head, Mehmet Görmez, who signed the regulation regarding renewing the duties of all of its units and the foundation of a new department on July 31.
The regulation, called “Diyanet Duties and Working Regulations,” encompasses providing services to the needy including Syrian migrants, youth addicted to drugs, prisoners, seasonal workers and child care centers.
The new department will plan its religious services with related institutions, establishments and non-governmental organizations in times of natural disasters, domestic issues, terror and uprisings, as well as other emergency situations, and will convey them to the public.
In addition, the regulation renewed the duties of all of its units, including the Mosque Services Department, which will take over the management of small and big mosques, open them to prayers, as well as keep a track of their affairs.
The regulation also featured new practices regarding religious movements, with the Social and Cultural Religious Services Department being given the responsibility to “carry out studies on organizations, religious associations and traditional cultural bodies.”
The department will also be in charge of “coordinating and tracking efforts that will be carried out with relevant institutions and non-governmental organizations on preventing negative incidents that threaten public peace, such as terror and violence.”
In addition, the Religious Publications General Directorate will increase the number of religious publications to enhance their effectiveness.