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How Ankara plans to manage Kurds' religious affairs

After firing hundreds of imams in Turkey's southeast region, the Religious Affairs Directorate wants to hand-pick preachers that will help the Kurds remember "real Islam."
A Turkish flag is seen next to the dome of a mosque in Istanbul, Turkey, July 16, 2016.    REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis - RTSIBCJ

On Nov. 23, Turkish Religious Affairs Director Mehmet Gormez told a group of preachers that he was embarrassed by the July 15 coup attempt because it perhaps indicated he wasn't doing his official duty well. He told his audience to keep an eye on two groups while performing their duties. While he didn't name names, he was referring to the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and the Gulenists.

News had broken in late October that the Religious Affairs Directorate (Diyanet) would be firing hundreds more imams, particularly in eastern and southeastern towns where the majority of residents are Kurds, for their alleged support of the PKK. This follows the directorate’s previous wave of firing more than 2,500 personnel accused of being Gulenists.

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