Selahaddin Menteş, the chairman of Turkey‘s State of Emergency (OHAL) Commission, has deleted his social media posts about Nurettin Yıldız, a controversial cleric whose sermons were also followed by police officer Mevlüt Mert Altıntaş, who assassinated the Russian ambassador to Ankara last year.
Yıldız, the president of the Social Fabric Foundation (Sosyal Doku Vakfı), had sparked a public reaction after he argued that marrying a 6-year-old girl is legitimate. In addition to this remark that caused outrage, Yıldız also said it is a sin to watch a woman news anchor on TV and that women should be grateful to be beaten.
In an interview with the state-owned Anadolu news agency, Yıldız voiced support for Turkey’s autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, saying that it was a requirement of his faith to support the president.
According to an article written by Abdullah Bozkurt, the President of Stockholm Center for Freeom (SCF), as an operative in Erdoğan’s inner circle, Nurettin Yıldız is aligned with radical religious groups affiliated with al-Qaeda in Syria. Yıldız openly advocates jihad, describes democracy as a system for infidels and says it can only be used as a means of deception to rise to power. “His vision perfectly fits the pattern of how Erdoğan usurped power in Turkey by using democratic elections and becoming a tyrant, jailing critics and seizing the businesses of dissenters,” wrote SCF’s Bozkurt.
The article continued to say that “Yıldız works closely with Bilal Erdoğan, Erdoğan’s son, and uses a youth foundation run by Bilal Erdoğan to indoctrinate young people in Turkey in jihadist ideology. He is often invited to lecture youth branches by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government. The young police officer who assassinated the Russian ambassador in Ankara turned out to have been radicalized by Yıldız. This radical imam even suggested murdering and hacking off the hands and feet of Erdoğan’s jailed critics instead of taking care of them in prisons.”
The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government declared a state of emergency on July 20, 2016 five days after a controversial coup attempt on July 15, 2016. On April 18, 2017 Parliament approved a three-month extension to the state of emergency. A commission was announced by the Turkish government to review situations of state workers who have been dismissed by government decrees following the coup attempt.
The Hürriyet daily reported that police officer Altıntaş, who shouted al Nusra Front slogans after shooting the Russian ambassador, attended the sermons of Yıldız at Ankara’s Hacı Bayram Mosque. (SCF with turkishminute.com) June 19, 2017