Directorate of Religious Affairs (Diyanet)
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.