Be very careful as a religious institution

Be very careful as a religious institution

The Directorate of Religious Affairs (Diyanet) somehow entered the election agenda because of the official vehicle of its director and now cannot get out.

Director Mehmet Görmez made an attempt to return the vehicle, which all together might have moved them outside the election debate, even though with a weak possibility, but President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan did not even allow this. 

Erdoğan said if he had been asked, he would not have allowed the return of the luxury vehicle. 

Do not make logical comments such as “Why should the luxury vehicle of the Diyanet be asked to the Office of the President?” I am asking you, please. Who else but “him” would know what is right and what is wrong. 

Erdoğan said he would give an armored luxury vehicle allocated for him to Görmez and he made it his talking point in the rallies he held in several provinces.  

He did not stop there. In order to attack the opposition, he emphasized that the value of the (original) car was not 1 million Turkish Liras but 330,000 liras. 

“Come on, the worth of this car is 330,000 liras. If you give five sheep to them, they would absolutely lose them.” 

I will again ask you, please, not to get lost in the comparison of “five sheep and one Mercedes.” We need common sense in every aspect. 

An institution such as the Directorate of Religious Affairs, which has to be impartial and completely away from daily discussions (and which has had a clean history in this matter for many years), to be the subject of stories leaving question marks in people’s minds during the election period constitutes a “troubled” scene. 

When I say election period stories, I have to point out that we have seen other stories other than the official Mercedes of the Diyanet. 

For instance, the situation of Hasan Tüfek.
Tüfek was the head of a polling station in Frankfurt, Germany, for out-of-country voting. He was caught while he was casting a vote for somebody else. Tüfek is an imam at the DITIB Dietzenbach Mosque. 
The Out-of Country Election Board decided that Tüfek had committed an election crime and filed a criminal complaint against him to the Ankara Public Prosecutor. 

Another inquiry story came from Soma on Monday, May 25. It was about a staff member, identified as H.Ö., at the office of the mufti. The investigation was opened about two years late but the list of charges is quite shocking. 

H.Ö. is being accused of collecting all historic pieces, rugs and handwritten manuscripts in mosques in Soma, selling them and buying a Mercedes (what is the deal with Mercedes and religious staff?).   

Also, a reader, after reading the piece I wrote about Finance Minister Mehmet Şimşek’s “peanuts” comment, sent an e-mail telling me that the whole town was confused by the automobile the mufti of the 10,000-person town had bought for himself. 

Let’s get to the point: 

I want to think this and similar stories are individual incidents. I wish this is so. 

I believe the institution, which was able to keep its distance from daily matters, political calculations, fiscal matters and election propaganda, and its staff are not happy with the situation.  

This discussion is harmful to everybody; we would not know how to solve it. 

The responsibility, first and foremost, falls on those who cross the boundaries of their jurisdiction and who cannot curb their personal ambitions.

I hope whoever needs to understand this has understood.