Cleric says Turkish women will be ‘halal’ for president: SP

Cleric says Turkish women will be ‘halal’ for president: SP

Cleric says Turkish women will be ‘halal’ for president: SP

Cihan Photo

Hours after Turkey’s pro-government media accused Saadet Party (SP) officials of beating an imam, the Islamism-oriented opposition party has said that the cleric picked a quarrel by telling its female supporters that all Turkish women would be “halal for the president” if the country switches to the presidential system.

A number of pro-government newspapers, including daily Yeni Şafak and Takvim, claimed on June 2 that “[SP chair Mustafa] Kamalak’s bodyguards have beaten an imam at the garden of a mosque” in Istanbul’s Sultangazi district.

SP said in a statement on June 3 that the report was “completely a lie and unreal,” while complaining that its views regarding the incident were ignored by the media.

According to the statement, the “muezzin” (reciter of the call to prayer), not the imam, of a mosque in Sultangazi’s Yayla neighborhood “provoked” SP’s female supporters who were promoting the party ahead of the June 7 general elections.

“When we switch to presidential system, you won’t have to cover your heads with an [Islamic] veil because all women managed by the president will be ‘halal’ to him,” the SP statement quoted the cleric as saying to its female officials.

“Halal” is any object or action which is permissible to use or engage in, according to Islamic law. Wife, daughters and other close female relatives of a man do not have to wear headscarf when they are together.

Stressing that a criminal complaint has been filed against the cleric, the party also denied claims that he was beaten by Kamalak’s bodyguards and described the ensuing incident as “a scuffle.”

Abandoning Turkey’s current parliamentary system for an executive presidency has been one of the main issues in this year’s campaign season, supported only by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).