Turkish authorities censor articles in TDV’s Islam Encyclopedia over alleged influence of Gülen movement

The Islam Encyclopedia of the Religious Affairs Foundation (TDV), which is affiliated with Turkey’s controversial Directorate of Religious Affairs (Diyanet), arguably one of the most important collections of Islamic knowledge has appeared to be censored on the Internet over its alleged relations with the teachings of Gülen movement.

Prof. Dr. Ayhan Tekineş

Prof. Dr. Ayhan Tekineş, who used to work for Fatih University, which was seized and closed by the government in 2016 under the rule of emergency declared in the aftermath of a controversial coup attempt on July 15, 2016 has, stated that some of the articles of the TDV Islam Encyclopedia on digital version were removed on the basis of the fact that they were written originally by those scholars close to the Gülen movement, online news portal Kronos reported.

Pointing out that this kind behavior is disrespectful to the science committee that first approved those items, Prof. Dr. Tekineş said that on social media he came to know that the article of Said Nursi, the teachings of whom later inspired Turkey’s Gülen movement, was amended and subsequently censored by stating that those articles are written by Prof. Dr. Suat Yıldırım.

Prof. Dr. Tekineş has also underlined that he wrote out 19 pieces for the encyclopedia in addition to referring that they were started to be published after the letter of “i” as he told that they include hadith concepts, book introductions, and other topics.

Tekineş said that the writing of the articles for the encyclopedia was offered him by the experts who were accounting for the related hadith sections of the encyclopedia and emphasized that this behavior was a disrespect to the writing and publishing of the materials and the scientific delegation that approves it.

“One of these articles is ‘ilel-ul-Hadith’, which is my graduate thesis. This thesis is recently approved by chiefs who preside at the institutions that publish the encyclopedia until recently. Articles in the encyclopedia have been checked and published by a science committee after they were written. These scholars are also the teachers of the board members of the Turkish Religious Affairs and in particular the head of the Directorate of Religious Affairs,”told Tekineş.

Saying these practices have lowered the position of the religious community in Turkey so pathetically, “We know each other since the Director of Religious Affairs was a muezzin in the Fatih Mosque in 1985. And we worked together at Sakarya University for 17 years. I hope that these practices are done despite him,” he said.

“Along with my contributions, they also removed the articles written by Prof. Dr. Suat Yıldırım. They also removed the information about Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen from the article of Said Nursi. These are what I know right now,” Tekineş added.

The encyclopedia project, which was first initiated in 1983 and published its first volume in 1988, was completed in December 2017, having produced a total of 44 volumes. It was collected with the support of over 2,000 experts and scholars on Islam.

Covering a wide range of topics from Islamic sciences, history, geography, culture and civilizations, the encyclopedia contains 15,226 titles, quoting around 500 sources. When sub-headings are including, the number of titles increase to 16,855.

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