Turkey’s Directorate of Religious Affairs files complaint against journalist Fatih Altaylı

Turkey’s Directorate of Religious Affairs on Monday filed a criminal complaint with the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office against journalist Fatih Altaylı for allegedly “insulting the directorate” and “inciting public hatred against the directorate,” Turkish media reported. 

In a statement published on its website, the directorate said Altaylı had used insulting and humiliating remarks against the directorate and its personnel. Moreover, according to the directorate these remarks had caused polarization and hatred among the public. 

After a disastrous earthquake hit Turkey and northern Syria on February 6, a large number of children were left orphaned, leading families to look into adoption or to become foster parents. Amid the scramble to provide young earthquake victims with a home, the directorate issued a controversial fatwa on its website saying that Islam did not prohibit marriage between the adopter and adoptee.

According to the fatwa, while Islam allows for the care and protection of orphaned children, it does not recognize the institution of adoption. The adopted child cannot be regarded in the same way as a biological child; therefore, there is no barrier preventing the adopter from marrying them. 

The fatwa sparked a public outcry, with many criticizing the directorate for opening the path to child marriages. However, the directorate pushed back, saying the fatwa was taken out of context but subsequently deleted it. 

In a tweet Altaylı accused some directorate personnel of perversion, saying they should instead “work in the porn industry.” 

“[Mustafa Kemal] Atatürk established the directorate so people could have access to religious services and knowledge, but it has been tarnished by perverts,” he said.


Turkey’s most powerful earthquake in almost 100 years, which struck near the city of Gaziantep in the early hours of February 6, has so far claimed the lives of more than 41,000 people in Turkey in addition to injuring in excess of 100,000. Close to 220,000 disaster victims have been evacuated from the region to date, according to the latest official figures.

The 7.8-magnitude earthquake was followed by dozens of aftershocks, including a 7.5-magnitude temblor that jolted the region in the middle of search and rescue efforts the same day.

While authorities have not released the exact number of children who were left orphaned and homeless due to the earthquake, opposition deputies have expressed concerns over the safety of these children in parliamentary discussions.

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