Story By: Alex Cope, Sub Editor: Joseph Golder, Agency: Central European News
Top officials from Turkey’s Religious Affairs Directorate that is accused of being a propaganda organ for President Erdogan and has built mosques all over the world including the UK has been holding seminars in these luxury five-star hotels in tourist hotspots popular with Britons.
Turkey’s Directorate for Religious Affairs (Diyanet) held three educational seminars in three different five-star resorts in the holiday destination of Antalya on the country’s Mediterranean coast, an area popular with British holidaymakers.
The religious ministry spent two-and-a-half times more than Turkey’s Foreign Ministry in the first 11 months of 2019, according to reports.
The ministry has a budget of 11.5 billion TRY (1.4 billion GBP) for this year, more than the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the Ministry of Trade and the Foreign Ministry, among others.
Of that a large amount has been spent building more than 100 mosques abroad in the UK, United States, Germany and Russia among other places as well as overseeing more than 2,000 foreign-based mosques.
The BBC has described Turkish mosque building and Islamic outreach as a project through which Turkey hopes to extend its influence and play a leadership role for Muslims worldwide. Diyanet has also come under fire for creating ‘sermons’ which critics say are propaganda for Erdogan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).
Diyanet, which is used to promote Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s vision of creating a new generation of pious Turks, held the seminars at the five-star Silence Beach Resort, WOME Deluxe and Alan Xafira resorts.
The directorate told reporters they had used the resorts as their own facilities in the capital Ankara did not have enough beds and rooms to be able to accommodate the seminars’ guests.
Local media report Diyanet has become controversial in the country as its budget has become much larger than other key ministries.
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