Turkish media is reporting that the Turkish state’s Directorate of Religious Affairs (Diyanet) is opening “fatwa units” abroad to serve Turkish citizens. According to the NTV report:
December 23, 2022: The Presidency of Religious Affairs has established fatwa units to answer the religious questions of Turkish citizens and Muslims living abroad. The units, established with the support of the Presidency, are staffed by Turkish officials who came from abroad and completed their training in Turkey. Fatih Mehmet Aydın, Deputy Chairman of the Supreme Board of Religious Affairs, said that questions are directed to the Board via the Alo 190 Fatwa Hotline throughout the country and that the questions are answered by experts. [Translated by DeepL]
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The report further mentions that the fatwa units’ employees are Turkish citizens living abroad who complete a 30-month training by the Diyanet. So far, the fatwa units have been activated in Germany and the Netherlands, but Aydın also says that Diyanet wants to establish them in more countries where Turkish citizens live.
The Directorate of Religious Affairs (Turkish: Diyanet İşleri Başkanlığı or Diyanet) is a Turkish state institution responsible for managing religious affairs. The Diyanet was founded in 1924 to monopolize control of Sunni Islam in Turkey under the state. The Diyanet drafts a weekly sermon delivered at all of Turkey’s mosques, and their imams are civil servants employed by the state. Starting in the 1980s, the Diyanet began to manage mosques abroad and send imams there to promote Turkish Islam. After the Justice and Development Party (AKP) came to power in 2002, it quadrupled the Diyanet’s budget and installed leaders who supported its positions, whereas it previously had been secular and independent of state interference. Through organizations such as DITIB, the Diyanet provides imams and pays imams for Turkish mosques abroad, and Diyanet imams have gathered intelligence on Turkey’s opponents abroad and reported back to the government.
Earlier this month we reported that Diyanet is opening “fatwa units” abroad to serve Turkish citizens.