Umut Erdem - Hürriyet / Istanbul, May 28 () - President Tayyip Erdoğan’s vow to provide a private plane for Turkey’s Directorate of Religious Affairs (Diyanet) head Mehmet Görmez has sparked severe reaction from Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli, prompting him to call on Görmez to resign from his post in order to rescue his institution from being further politicized by the head of the state.
Bahçeli’s remarks came as he was speaking to reporters during a visit to the town of Kızılcahamam in Ankara on May 27, the day for commemorating “Ülkücü” martyrs. “Ülkücü” meaning “idealist” is the name of a political movement supported by many MHP members.
Bahçeli first criticized Erdoğan’s “denunciatory, insulting and provocative” rhetoric used in his numerous visits to different parts of the country since his presidential election in August 2014.
“Like he has been exploiting everything in the run up to the [June 7] election, he has also been exploiting the Diyanet” Bahçeli said, questioning how Görmez was “trapped in this plot.”
“Until today, there were very few personalities who were scholars of Islam and held the post of the Diyanet presidency. However, today, during the term of office of the Diyanet president [Görmez], the Diyanet has been politicized” he said.
“The Diyanet has been ‘car-ized’” he added, referring to the controversial allocation of a luxury car to the Diyanet head.
“There is only one thing to do. Since he [Görmez] doesn’t see himself strong enough to contain the president and if he [Görmez] wants to rescue himself and the institution from this exploitation, he needs to resign” Bahçeli said, adding that such a resignation would be “best” for both Görmez and the institution.