Turkey’s main opposition party on Tuesday accused the country’s top religious official of being guided by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and failing to take Islam’s holy book as a compass.
The secularist Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy chairman Engin Altay told the head of the Religious Affairs Directorate Ali Erbaş that his guide is the Holy Qur’an and not the Turkish leader, Diken news site reported on Tuesday.
“Fear God!” the CHP official said addressing the religious official, “Your guide is the Quran, not Erdogan.”
Altay’s remarks follow controversial remarks from Erbaş in a new book by the directorate, where the top imam suggested the use of Islamic jurisprudence where Turkey’s current already strict social media legislation proves insufficient.
The preface for the book, titled “Social Media Ethics,” includes a preface by Erbaş on the relationship between religion and social media and the need for “the creation of a legal mechanism that will determine the legal framework regarding the use of social media.”
Erbaş’s latest remarks call for the top religious official to be reminded that he must fear God, Altay said, while urging Erbaş to act in accordance with his position.
The directorate in recent years has been increasingly accused of being used as a tool by the country’s president and leader of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) to push an Islamist political agenda through the country’s imams, all of whom work for the directorate.