Diyanet Basın Duyurumuz (İngilizce Metni)





In recent years, we have witnessed various sermons of the president of Directorate of Religious Affairs of Turkey that violate the Constitution, the Convention on Children’s Rights, the Turkish Criminal Code, and the Civil Code, aiming to reshape public morality through their website.


On January 09, 2016, an official of the directorate posted a highly controversial question and answer on their official website. The question was whether having lustful thoughts about your daughter would be considered against the Islam?” and the answer was “if the girl is over 9 years and if these thoughts develop while looking at her body, it would not constitute haram (a term used in Islam for sacrilegious things).” This answer is immoral and against the Turkish Penal Code. We condemned this action at the time, and called the Turkish Government to interfere with the Secretary of Religious Affairs.


Two years have passed since that post of the directorate and unfortunately, nothing has changed in directorate’s hostile attitude towards children and women. Not only have they encouraged people to commit crimes against children and women, but they’ve also guided them on how to commit the crime.


Furthermore, the language people use to eroticize women and little girls, the methods they use to violate their rights and insult them come directly from the publications of the Directorate of Religious Affairs. They are aiming to change the public opinion step by step.


Their website is not only a platform where marrying a 9-year-old girl is promoted and incest is legitimized, it is also a platform in which the sexist, discriminatory, oppressive and devaluing minds for women and girls are constantly produced by means of out-of-date and patriarchal messages. Recently they started to encourage the implementation of religious marriage and divorce. According to their website, men can divorce their wives via text messages that only needs to read “I divorce you.”


Although these messages are absolutely against the principles of secular constitution of Turkey and the Criminal Code, there have not been any legal actions taken against those who are behind the mass manipulation of public opinion. Journalists who cover these issues are being sued and threatened by the Directorate of Religious Affairs. While the directorate continues to spread unconstitutional messages, government and legal bodies are yet to react these actions and to take necessary measures to avoid spreading misguided ideas among Turkish people.


We shall not forget that these messages ignore the fact that this is a secular country that separates religion and state. These speeches are breaking the law. The Directorate of Religious Affairs has the same responsibility as the other public bodies in this country to obey the law, even after imams (Muslim religious leaders) were given the right to marry people with approval of the “population law.”


Most of the defendants in the recent cases of child abuse have been "imams," and they are knowingly using a language that sees children as sexual objects. Religious community centers have been used to abuse children. We demand the government to start an investigation to follow up on the messages of the directorate that promotes child brides and stop this nonsense immediately.


It should not be forgotten that the 150-year-old successful women’s right movement of Turkey will not allow tampering with the secular order nor will it accept intentions to shape society through their views of "women and girls."




Sincerely yours,





President of the Women's Federation of Associations of Turkey