Imam suspended for criticizing Turkish government policy on Israel

Imam Mesut Adabağlı

An imam in eastern Turkey has been suspended due to his criticism of Turkish government policy on Israel’s war against Hamas, Turkish Minute reported, citing the Cumhuriyet daily.

Mesut Adabağlı, the imam of a mosque in the Tatvan district of Bitlis, was suspended after a video circulated on social media in which  he criticized the Turkish government for not taking sufficient action against Israel to stop its war on Gaza.

Israel began pounding Gaza after Hamas militants carried out an unprecedented attack in the country on October 7, killing 1,200 people. Israeli airstrikes and grounds attacks on Gaza have so far claimed the lives of more than 19,000 people, according to the Hamas-run health ministry, in addition to leading to vast destruction in the enclave.

Adabağlı said in a sermon that it would be wrong to only blame Israel or the United States for the war on Gaza, saying that all “collaborators” of this tragedy should be discussed.

The imam criticized the Turkish government for not cutting all its ties with Israel and for not sending “troops” to Gaza to help.

“Muslims, you have to tell the people who rule us to wake up,” Adabağlı said.

The Bitlis Mufti’s Office has confirmed Adabağl’s suspension but has not provided any reason. There are claims that the imam was suspended for deviating from the sermon content determined by the Religious Affairs Directorate.

Although President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan uses strong rhetoric against Israel, accusing it of committing war crimes in Gaza, his government is criticized for not cutting off diplomatic and commercial relations with Israel.

An investigation by Turkish journalist Metin Cihan has recently revealed that business between Turkish companies and Israel continues as usual despite Ankara’s harsh rhetoric towards Israel.

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