Erdogan, the Diyanet, and its Field Office near DC

Across Turkey and the Turkish diaspora around the world, wariness of the Diyanet, Turkey’s Directorate of Religious Affairs, is growing. Amid an economic crisis in Turkey, this month journalists, activists, and politicians have condemned the enormous amount of money the Diyanet spends and the apparent corruption of its top officials. Critics also denounced the body’s evolving efforts to impose “Islamization” on Turkey.

This Islamist NATO member—accused of tacitly supporting ISIS and other Salafijihadists—has long held high expectations of becoming a leading global power, and to lead the Muslim world under a new caliphate. To pursue such theocratic goals, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (who famously compared democracy to a train: “you get off once you’ve reached your destination”) has worked to consolidate power, develop an international network of extremist ideologues and teachings, fund terror, persecute his critics, religious, and ethnic minorities, undermine foreign powers, and systematically destroy the remaining vestiges of Turkey’s democratic policies and practices from its former secular system.

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