Civil servants to be allowed to leave Turkey for hajj

Civil servants to be allowed to leave Turkey for hajj

ANKARA – Anadolu Agency
Civil servants to be allowed to leave Turkey for hajj

AFP photo

Ankara will make an exception on the ban on leaving the country imposed on civil servants after the July 15 failed coup attempt if the employees can demonstrate they will perform the hajj in September. 

Personnel who are not subjected to administrative or judicial inquiries and those who were not suspended from duty will be allowed to join the annual Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca, which is set to take place between Sept. 9 and Sept. 14.

Civil servants will need to provide evidence that they were granted the right to undertake the pilgrimage from Turkey, sources told state-run Anadolu Agency. 

The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government suspended the annual leave of more than 3 million civil servants across the country until further notice, after the failed coup plot allegedly organized by followers of U.S.-based Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen brought civil servants under the spotlight.

Gülen is accused of attempting to overthrow Turkey’s democratically-elected government through his followers within the country’s military and public institutions – especially the judiciary. 

Civil servants were also banned from leaving the country and those already on leave were asked to return to their posts as soon as possible, a government order published at the Official Gazette on July 18 said.  

The hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam, which all able Muslims are expected to perform once in their life if they have the means to do so.

The five-day hajj rituals are attended by over 2 million Muslim pilgrims, a large majority of which are flown in from 189 countries to western Saudi Arabia.