İstanbul imam accuses potential naysayers in referendum of treason

An imam in İstanbul’s Ümraniye district has accused the people who will vote against a constitutional reform package that seeks to introduce an executive presidency in Turkey and will put to a referendum soon of treason and ignorance, spurring criticism from some mosque attendees, according to a report in the odatv news portal on Monday.

The incident reportedly took place at the Ümraniye Modoko Mosque on Feb.3. While imam Hüseyin Güleç was delivering the Friday sermon, he talked about the infrastructural developments in Turkey during the Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) rule and urged the mosque attendees to vote ‘yes’ in the referendum while he lashed out the potential naysayers.

Counting the names of some of the infrastructure projects during the AKP rule, Güleç said: “Who are the naysayers today? They are the ones who are against the world’s largest airport. They are the ones who can’t tolerate the Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge?…”

Some of the mosque attendees reacted to the imam telling him not to make politics in a mosque.

“We are all in a mosque. There are some who think of voting ‘no’ in the referendum among us. This is a mosque,” said some of the attendees.

When faced with criticism, Güleç took a backward step and said he respects both ‘yes’ and ‘no’ voters.

Many imams in Turkey are being criticized for acting like AKP mouthpieces and mixing religion with politics.

The referendum on the constitutional amendments will be held in April. Pro-government circles are carrying out a vigorous “yes” campaign, and some government supporters are even threatening potential naysayers in the referendum.

There are widespread fears that the executive presidency will create one-man rule in Turkey and end the separation of powers. (turkishminute.com)

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