Muezzin who spoke against Turkish PM’s statement displaced again

Muezzin who spoke against Turkish PM’s statement displaced again

Fuat Yıldırım, the muezzin of the mosque that sheltered injured Gezi Park protesters, was displaced for a second time since coming to the center of a controversy, the daily Hürriyet reported on its website. 

Yıldırım, who disagreed with the Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s statements when he said he did not see alcoholic beverages being consumed in the mosque by protesters, was assigned to the Arap Mosque in Galata. Last month, he was placed at Kayabaşı Mosque in Başakşehir. 

“I paid a heavy price, I am still paying, and apparently, I will continue to pay it,” Yıldırım was quoted as saying by the Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy chief Gürsel Tekin, who was said to have spoken with the muezzin. “But I have a clear conscience.” 

Hürriyet also quoted another lawmaker, the Nationalist Movement Party’s (MHP) Lütfü Türkkan, as saying that Yıldırım was “temporarily replaced” for security reasons until the investigation ends. 

“But it could be permanent. We will see at the end of this six-month period,” Türkkan said. 

Shoes and alcohol row

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan asserted in several speeches that the protesters drank alcoholic beverages within the mosque, adding they also entered the mosque with their shoes on, two acts considered to be disrespectful in Islam. The police have started an investigation into the issue after Erdoğan, at rallies in Ankara and Istanbul, openly accused the protesters of engaging in such behavior. 

Yıldırım said he testified to the Counter-Terrorism Department of the Turkish National Police for six hours, as part of this investigation. The muezzin confirmed that first aid was provided to injured protesters in the Dolmabahçe Mosque between May 31 and June 3, a time when the clashes between police and protesters were at their most fierce.“I did not see anyone consume alcohol within the mosque or hold an alcoholic beverage bottle,” said Yıldırım in an interview with daily Yurt newspaper.