TurkeySeptember 19 2022, 13:41 pm

Prominent Imam Transferred to Cologne, Meets AKP Politicians and Lobby Representatives

Ger­man media is report­ing that a high-pro­file Turk­ish cler­ic, the for­mer imam of the mosque belong­ing to the pres­i­den­tial palace in Ankara, has been trans­ferred to Cologne by the supreme Turk­ish reli­gious author­i­ty. Accord­ing to the Ger­man pub­li­ca­tion “Jun­gle World”:

Sep­tem­ber 8, 2022 Since the begin­ning of July, the cen­tral mosque of the Turk­ish-Islam­ic Union of the Insti­tute for Reli­gion (Ditib) in the Ehren­feld dis­trict of Cologne has had anoth­er imam: Adem Kemaneci, 40, father of two chil­dren, joined the three oth­er prayer lead­ers. The addi­tion is a promi­nent one, as Kemaneci pre­vi­ous­ly served as imam at the Beşte­pe Mil­let Camii. This mosque is locat­ed in the Turk­ish cap­i­tal of Ankara — and is part of the grounds of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s pres­i­den­tial palace there. It is there­fore no ordi­nary house of prayer; Erdoğan him­self opened it in July 2015. In recent years, the mosque has always played a very impor­tant role for the pres­i­dent, because “polit­i­cal stag­ings took place there on cer­tain nation­al or reli­gious hol­i­days,” Eren Güvercin, a free­lance jour­nal­ist and mem­ber of the Islam Con­fer­ence, told Cologne-based Dom­ra­dio in an inter­view. For these stag­ings, Kemaneci “with his beau­ti­ful voice, with which he can also recite the Koran very nice­ly, pro­vid­ed the nec­es­sary back­drop for Erdoğan to also sig­nal to the peo­ple that Erdoğan is not only a strong polit­i­cal leader, but also has a reli­gious claim.” (Trans­lat­ed using

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Accord­ing to Güvervin, Kemaneci has met with rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the Turk­ish con­sulate gen­er­al in Cologne, high-rank­ing AKP politi­cians and rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the AKP lob­by orga­ni­za­tion Union of Inter­na­tion­al Democ­rats just a week after the announce­ment of his new post. On this occa­sion, AKP politi­cian Akif Çağatay Kılıç gave a “real incen­di­ary speech and elec­tion cam­paign speech” for the AKP, accord­ing to the report.

The Turk­ish-Islam­ic Union for Reli­gious Affairs (Turk­ish: Diyanet İşl­eri Türk-İsl­am Bir­liği; DITIB) is a mosque umbrel­la orga­ni­za­tion that oper­ates in sev­er­al Euro­pean coun­tries. The orga­ni­za­tion is linked to the Diyanet, a Turk­ish gov­ern­ment agency respon­si­ble for reli­gious affairs. The Diyanet sends imams to DITIBs mosques, and their salaries are paid by the Diyanet or the local Turk­ish consulate.

The Union of Inter­na­tion­al Democ­rats (UID), for­mer­ly known as the Union of Euro­pean Turk­ish Democ­rats) describes itself as a vol­un­tary NGO  found­ed in 2004 that oper­ates in sev­er­al Euro­pean coun­tries. Its aims include increas­ing the eco­nom­ic, polit­i­cal and social activ­i­ties of Turks and “sis­ter com­mu­ni­ties” abroad with­out alien­at­ing their iden­ti­ties and val­ues, as well as com­bat­ting Islam­o­pho­bia. Ger­man media has described it as a lob­by­ing group for Pres­i­dent Erdoğan and his AKP that empha­sizes Turk­ish val­ues and cus­toms. The Ger­man Office for the Pro­tec­tion of the Con­sti­tu­tion mon­i­tors the UID, describ­ing it as “nation­al­ist” and incom­pat­i­ble with Ger­many’s free demo­c­ra­t­ic order.


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