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Erdogan, the Cemaat, CHP: troubled triangle over religion's place in Turkey

Turkey's Religious Affairs Directorate intervenes in the warfare between the Erdogan camp and the Cemaat with its sermon on Friday.
Mustafa Sarigul greets his supporters before a rally in Istanbul January 26, 2014. Two months before elections which could reshape Turkey's political landscape, the main opposition candidate for mayor of its biggest city is taking the fight to a bastion of Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan's Islamist-rooted AK Party. At stake is much more than just local politics, and Sarigul's secularist Republican People's Party (CHP) is hoping for a breakthrough in places like the conservative district of Fatih in Istanbul's

The separation between mosque and state is growing thinner every day in Turkey. The Religious Affairs Directorate, for example, recently intervened in the political warfare between the Islamist camp of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the followers of US-based Sunni religious leader Fethullah Gulen, better known as the Cemaat. This intervention came in the form of a Friday prayer, which on Jan. 31 was read at mosques across the country:

“A Muslim is the brother of another Muslim. He does not torment him, or isolate him. When he meets his religious brother’s needs, God watches out for him,” the imams read. “The loyalty of brotherhood is the inheritance of our beloved prophet. … Brotherhood is the ability to present a smiling face at difficult times or to say a few nice words. … Brotherhood requires being sensitive about others' needs.”

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