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Prominent sheikh’s funeral exposes Turkey’s secular-religious divide

The funeral of a prominent religious leader has showcased the growing influence of religious groups in Turkey. 
Turkish Presidential Press Office/Getty Images

The high-profile funeral of a leader of an influential religious order shows how religious groups have flourished under the rule of the Justice and Development Party (AKP), exposing deepening faults between the Turkish public secular and Islamist segments.

Mahmut Ustaosmanoglu, a sheik and longtime leader of Turkey’s influential Ismailaga order, died on June 23 at the age of 93. Tens of thousands flocked to his funeral service held on June 24 in Istanbul, including Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu and several other ministers.

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