Turkey’s largest religious publication group denied spot at Ramadan book fair

According to Özden Demir, general manager of the Kaynak Publishing Group, barring the largest religious books publisher in the country from the 34th Turkey Book and Culture Fair is discriminative. (Photo: Cihan)
According to Özden Demir, general manager of the Kaynak Publishing Group, barring the largest religious books publisher in the country from the 34th Turkey Book and Culture Fair is discriminative. (Photo: Cihan)

Date posted: June 19, 2015

Turkey’s Directorate of Religious Affairs has refused to allocate an exhibit space at a Ramadan book fair to the country’s largest religious publication group over its affiliation with the Gülen movement, a faith-based movement with which the government has been waging a war for some time.

In an apparent politically motivated decision, the directorate, which has recently been under fire for being a tool for government favoritism, barred 20 publishing houses, including the Kaynak Kültür publishing group, from participating in the 34th Turkey Book and Culture Fair which started on Wednesday. The fair is organized by the directorate and the İstanbul Metropolitan Municipality’s cultural department, Kültür A.Ş, every Ramadan.

According to Özden Demir, general manager of the Kaynak Publishing Group, barring the largest publisher of religious books in the country from the 34th Turkey Book and Culture Fair is discriminatory. Demir told the Cihan news agency on Tuesday that the reason given for them not being allowed to participate in the fair is “limited space,” which he claims is completely without merit.

Demir said they were unable to register for space at the fair after being told by directorate officials of the decision. Demir also noted they have been participating in the fair every year since 2000 and have never faced any problem before.

The Kaynak publishing group consists dozens of publishers that put out books in different categories and languages. The group is also known as the publisher of books written by US-based Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, who inspires the Gülen movement — popularly known as the Hizmet movement.

Since a major corruption probe became public on Dec. 17, 2013 implicating people close to the Justice and Development Party (AK Party), media outlets, publishing houses and even NGOs close to the Gülen movement have been targeted by the government.

The AK Party and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan accused sympathizers of the Gülen movement, especially those in the police force and the judiciary, of being part of a plot against the government by carrying out the graft probe. However, Erdoğan and AK Party circles have yet to present any concrete evidence proving their accusations. The movement has strongly denied all claims.

In a similar move last year, the directorate refused to allocate exhibit space at the same book fair to the Ufuk and Zaman Kitap publishing houses, which have ties to the Hizmet movement. It had also halved the square footage allocated to Kaynak.

Event officials claimed that they did not have enough room for all the publishing houses this year because the fair’s grounds, located in İstanbul’s Beyazıt district, were reduced in size as a result of a recent restoration project.

However the directorate allocated stands to the government-controlled Yeni Şafak and Star dailies — which were allegedly bought using a pool of money to which businessmen close to the government contributed — although neither publication is associated with a publishing house.

The directorate’s attitude is reminiscent of what was seen in the period that led to the Feb. 28, 1997 unarmed military intervention in Turkey. However, at that time, it was the publishers printing the Risale-i Nur collection written by Said Nursi, a prominent Islamic theologian, who were not allowed to participate in the fair.

Source: Today's Zaman , June 18, 2015

Related News

Lawyer put behind bars along with 3-month-old baby

An Istanbul lawyer, identified with her initials O.E.H., was put in pretrial detention along with her three-month-old baby as part of an investigation into the Gulen movement, media said.

Tears and sadness as Turkish people pack up to leave Pakistan

“I know I can’t do anything to persuade the federal government to take back its decision of expelling the Turkish teachers and their families from the country,” a senior Pakistani teacher told PTI. “I must say last Friday was the saddest day in our campus in Lahore as all Turkish students were literally crying,” she said.

The fall of democracy and predicament of political Islam in Turkey

Hizmet is one of the world’s leading civil society movements. The threatening remarks and the derogatory discourse of Erdoğan against Fethullah Gülen and the Hizmet movement is totally at odds with democratic norms and principles.

Terrorism charges against Karaca do not make sense, CHP leader says

The leader of the main opposition party has implied that the recent arrest of Hidayet Karaca, the general manager of the Samanyolu Broadcasting Group (STV), on charges of heading a terrorist organization does not make sense as there is no solid evidence against the suspect.

Gülen resorts to UN to investigate Turkey’s coup

The U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gülen calls the United Nations to form an international commission to investigate Turkey’s controversial coup attempt on July 15, 2016, and to acquit himself after Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan accused him of launching the coup d’état.

Erdogan and Gulen: Inevitable Clash?

Unlike Turkey’s classical Islamic activists, Gulen always distanced himself from politics, and like Said Nursi, his main source of inspiration, his message was focused on grassroots social activism, most importantly an education combining both Islam and modern science. Hizmet’s main goal was social: raising a new “golden” generation fusing moderate Muslim and Modern ethics to become the backbone of Turkey’s society and bureaucracy and its messengers to the world.

Latest News

Fethullah Gülen’s Condolence Message for South African Human Rights Defender Archbishop Desmond Tutu

Hizmet Movement Declares Core Values with Unified Voice

Ankara systematically tortures supporters of Gülen movement, Kurds, Turkey Tribunal rapporteurs say

Erdogan possessed by Pharaoh, Herod, Hitler spirits?

Devious Use of International Organizations to Persecute Dissidents Abroad: The Erdogan Case

A “Controlled Coup”: Erdogan’s Contribution to the Autocrats’ Playbook

Why is Turkey’s Erdogan persecuting the Gulen movement?

Purge-victim man sent back to prison over Gulen links despite stage 4 cancer diagnosis

University refuses admission to woman jailed over Gülen links

In Case You Missed It

Success stories of Kenya’s Light Academies’ beaming alumni

Turkey, The great purge – Four lives upturned by Erdogan’s ‘cleansing.’ Episode 3 – Omer

Kimse Yok Mu and Tuna Foundation lifting up Romanian orphans’ spirit

455 water wells opened in Pakistan thanks to Kimse Yok Mu

Fethullah Gulen’s Statement on Mass Shooting at Pittsburgh Synagogue

Purge of ‘parallel state’ or legitimizing discrimination

Before the Lights are Out…

Copyright 2023 Hizmet News