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Head of Turkish Diyanet Meets with Turkish NGO Leaders in Belgium

May 16th, 2022 14:32

The head of the Turk­ish state’s Direc­torate of Reli­gious Affairs (Diyanet) vis­it­ed its Bel­gian coun­ter­part and met with politi­cians and the lead­ers of NGOs, includ­ing the head of Bel­gium’s for­mer offi­cial Mus­lim body. Accord­ing to the Belçi­ka Diyanet Foun­da­tion’s Face­book post:

26 April 2022: Vis­it­ing the Bel­gian Diyanet Foun­da­tion with­in the frame­work of the vis­it to West­ern Euro­pean coun­tries, where many of our cit­i­zens live, on the occa­sion of Ramadan, Pres­i­dent of Reli­gious Affairs Prof. Dr. Ali ERBAŞ signed the book of hon­or here. After receiv­ing infor­ma­tion about the Bel­gian Reli­gious Foun­da­tion’s activ­i­ties, he met with NGO rep­re­sen­ta­tives at the fast-break­ing din­ner orga­nized by the Bel­gian Diyanet Foun­da­tion. The pro­gram was attend­ed by the Ambas­sador of the Repub­lic of Turkey in Brus­sels, Dr. Hasan ULUSOY, Per­ma­nent Rep­re­sen­ta­tive to the Euro­pean Union (EU) Ambas­sador Mehmet Kemal BOZAY, Turkey’s Per­ma­nent Rep­re­sen­ta­tive to NATO Ambas­sador Basat ÖZTÜRK, Direc­tor Gen­er­al of For­eign Rela­tions of the Pres­i­den­cy of Reli­gious Affairs Erdal ATALAY, Head of Turks Abroad Depart­ment Suat OKUYAN, Brus­sels Reli­gious Ser­vices Coun­selor Abdul­lah GÜMÜŞSOY, Pres­i­dent of the Bel­gian Mus­lim Exec­u­tive Mehmet ÜSTÜN, Deputies, the May­or and com­mit­tees, rep­re­sen­ta­tives of active non-gov­ern­men­tal orga­ni­za­tions in Bel­gium, mosque asso­ci­a­tions and reli­gious offi­cials affil­i­at­ed to the Bel­gian Diyanet Foun­da­tion attend­ed. [Trans­lat­ed by Google with edits]

Read the rest here.

Oth­er media reports said that Erbaş specif­i­cal­ly met with the heads of Turk­ish NGOs.

As the GIOR report­ed last Octo­ber, Mehmet Üstün is the head of the Mus­lim Exec­u­tive of Bel­gium (Exé­cu­tif des Musul­mans de Bel­gique, EMB), Belgium’s for­mer offi­cial Mus­lim body, and a mem­ber of a Bel­gian Mil­lî Görüş orga­ni­za­tion. GIOR also report­ed last Novem­ber that the Bel­gian Jus­tice Min­is­ter had called for an inves­ti­ga­tion of the Exec­u­tive and the with­draw­al of its gov­ern­ment recog­ni­tion and funding.

The EMB is elect­ed by some 300 mosques in Bel­gium, many of which have been linked to for­eign and transna­tion­al influ­ence actors such as Turkey, Moroc­co, or the Mil­lî Görüş move­ment. Bel­gian pub­lic media has iden­ti­fied EMB mem­ber Rassem­ble­ment des Musul­mans de Bel­gique as a group that rep­re­sents Moroc­can Islam and is financed direct­ly from Moroc­co. The GIOR had addi­tion­al­ly report­ed that for­eign influ­ence is espe­cial­ly notable in anoth­er umbrel­la orga­ni­za­tion which is part of the EMB and which includes the Diyanet, and the Rassem­ble­ment as well as  Mil­lî Görüş. The Bel­gian Diyanet Foun­da­tion con­trols around 70 mosques in Bel­gium and is the Bel­gian branch of the Diyanet, Turkey’s state insti­tu­tion for man­ag­ing reli­gious affairs.

Mil­lî Görüş is a Turk­ish reli­gious and polit­i­cal move­ment found­ed by Necmet­tin Erbakan, Erdoğan’s polit­i­cal men­tor, which has called for an end to the sec­u­lar regime in Turkey. The GIOR has report­ed about the Ger­man gov­ern­men­t’s asser­tion that Turk­ish Pres­i­dent Erdoğan’s AKP par­ty has inten­si­fied its rela­tions with Mil­lî Görüş in Germany.