This Week in Turkey (235): Burcu Karakaş comments on religion, politics and secularism

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Our guest this week is journalist Burcu Karakaş. Her book ”Biz Her Şeyiz: Diyanet’in İşleri’‘ does a deep dive into the ever more emerging religiosity in Turkish politics. A ceremony to mark the opening of a new Supreme Court building in Ankara caused controversy last week, after a photo was published showing President Erdoğan, Chief Justice Mehmet Akarca, and President of Turkey’s Directorate of Religious Affairs Ali Erbaş joined together in prayer. The image of the prayers was for many a visual confirmation of the increased influence of religion in Turkey’s public sphere, and the deteriorating independence and neutrality of the country’s courts. 

A party delegation led by Oğuz Kaan Salıcı, the deputy chairman of Republican People’s Party, or CHP, met with Mesrour Barzani, the prime minister of Kurdistan Regional Government in Northern Iraq. Chief Foreign Policy Advisor of CHP and Istanbul deputy of Grand National Assembly of Turkey (TBMM) Ünal Çeviköz, Party Assembly Members Nevaf Bilek, Prof. Dr. Mehmet Hasan Eken and Enver Ömür Polat were also in the delegation. 
As schools reopened on Monday across Turkey, cautious optimism was tempered by concerns over the first appearance of the new “Mu” coronavirus variant within the country. 

Following a meeting last week, Health and Education Ministers detailed precautionary measures for schools as face-to-face education begins again. 

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