The media and Turkey’s Directorate of Religious Affairs

The media and Turkey’s Directorate of Religious Affairs

Mehmet Görmez, the head of the Directorate of Religious Affairs (Diyanet), recently said the relationship between the media and religion is the “most important problem” of modern times.

He said he finds this relationship “saddening and annoying.”

“The natural expectation of believers from the media is for pages and screens where religion is not mocked, and where holy values are not made an issue of polemic or argument. Freedom of the press is a must for the wellbeing of all of us. But I cannot understand why religion and the pious are being victimized due to an emphasis on freedom that everybody insists on,” Görmez said.

When I read these words, I found it impossible to understand his views. If the head of the Diyanet is talking about magazines that publish lunatic cartoons for the sake of humor, then he is taking these publications too seriously. Unfortunately, there is such a tendency in the West and we know that this tendency has racist, discriminatory tones concerning Muslims. Because we know that, we do not take them too seriously. 

However, if Görmez is talking about the newspapers, TV stations and magazines in Turkey, then he is not on the right point.

There is no publication in Turkey that takes a mocking stance against religion or Muslims. Holy values are not being humiliated and they are not being treated as subjects of debates or polemics.

If he has seen such a publication that we are unaware of, it is clear what he should do. Otherwise, he should stop talking into a vacuum. When he talks like this he is simply blaming the whole media, and I am sure he would not want to see the consequences of such accusations.

A visit to Expo 2015 in Milan

The other weekend I went to Milan to see Expo 2015. 

First, I need to say this: If İzmir had been selected as the host instead of Milan, I wonder if we could have gathered such a huge number of visitors. The entry fee was 45 euros per person. So a family with two children had to pay 180 euros in total. With all expenses made for transport, food, beverages and purchases, this adds up to a figure that the average Turkish family would find difficult to pay. 

Over the weekend, 200,000 people paid this sum and visited Expo 2015. I am not sure if we could have reached that number. 

The Expo is not an ordinary fair. It is not selling a commodity. Each country constructs its pavilion within a concept and underlines its place in humanity. The motto of Expo 2015 is “energy for life.” Turkey constructed its pavilion on the theme of “the food of the future” within this motto.

The Turkish pavilion was set up by the company DDF. It is a concept with values that both carried us from the past and hope to carry us into the future. It is very difficult to explain the pavilion to those who haven’t seen it. 

But let me tell you: The pavilion designed by DDF is not just a box-looking place surrounded by four walls like the others. It has a large central avenue and people can get familiar with our cuisine and our values while they walk around.

I really liked it, and I congratulate all who have worked on it - starting with the Economy Ministry.