TurkeyDecember 22 2023, 3:27 am

Turkey Uses Religion to Gain Influence in the West

On 12 Decem­ber 2023, Iran Inter­na­tion­al report­ed that the Islam­ic Repub­lic of Iran and Turkey’s Erdo­gan regime were sim­i­lar­ly using reli­gion to gain influ­ence in West­ern coun­tries. Majid Moham­ma­di high­lights how both nations have trans­formed reli­gious insti­tu­tions into state-owned enti­ties, with Turkey’s Diyanet orga­ni­za­tion extend­ing its reach beyond its bor­ders. With a sig­nif­i­cant gov­ern­ment bud­get, Diyanet con­trols the con­tent of imams’ speech­es in thou­sands of mosques glob­al­ly, a tac­tic mir­rored by Iran’s Fri­day Prayer Office. This strat­e­gy serves as a means for polit­i­cal, ide­o­log­i­cal, and secu­ri­ty influ­ence, par­tic­u­lar­ly in regions with sig­nif­i­cant Turk­ish immi­grants. The Diyanet Cen­ter of Amer­i­ca, over­see­ing numer­ous mosques in the US, exem­pli­fies Turkey’s efforts to influ­ence Turk­ish-speak­ing pop­u­la­tions and spread its polit­i­cal Islam agen­da. Such activ­i­ties high­light a broad­er attempt by both nations to rebuild their his­tor­i­cal empires under an Islamist guise, blend­ing reli­gious beliefs with nation­al­is­tic pride, and mark a con­cern­ing trend in inter­na­tion­al rela­tions and reli­gious freedom.


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