Former head of Turkey’s top religious body to become university rector

Former head of Turkey’s top religious body to become university rector

Nuray Babacan – ANKARA
Former head of Turkey’s top religious body to become university rector The former head of Turkey’s top religious body is planning to become a university rector after he resigned from his post on July 30. 

Mehmet Görmez, the former chief of Turkey’s Religious Affairs Directorate (Diyanet), is considering to become the rector of the Turkey International Islam, Science and Technology University, of which the law for its foundation was issued in parliament in 2015. 

Görmez will be the sole person to make decisions regarding the formation of all departments and cadres in the university with the title of founding rector in the university, whose foundation preparations gained speed recently.
Görmez’s resignation became one of the most debated topics recently in Turkey, with many speculations emerging over the incident.

According to information obtained from sources by daily Hürriyet, the most determinative factor in Görmez’s resignation was problems experienced between him and Culture Minister Numan Kurtulmuş. 

Sources said Görmez had disagreements with Kurtulmuş, who was previously a deputy prime minister in charge of Diyanet. 

Görmez worked as though he was the head of an institution directly connected to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for seven years, according to sources. This created problems after Kurtulmuş became in charge of Diyanet, even though it wasn’t an issue with previous deputy ministers in charge of the religious body. 

Kurtulmuş reportedly thought Görmez wasn’t acting as a bureaucrat under him, causing problems from time to time. In addition, Görmez and Kurtulmuş thought differently over a number of topics, including greetings at offices, meetings and statements released from the institution.

According to sources, Kurtulmuş was having difficulties receiving information on Diyanet’s activities. 

These problems were then conveyed to Erdoğan and Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım. 

At the same time period, reports started to emerge in pro-government media regarding Görmez and Diyanet’s lack of stance in the struggle against the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ), widely believed to have been behind the July 15, 2016, failed coup attempt. 

The reports made it harder for Görmez to work properly, sources said, with the much-debated process ending with his departure.

The dispute was reflected in a recent cabinet reshuffle, with Kurtulmuş being appointed to assume the role of the culture minister, though the fallout between him and Görmez was not the only reason behind the reshuffle.