2016-06-21

DITIB is a cultural-religious organisation for Turks in Europe. Or so it claims. In reality, it is a political body whose strings are pulled directly by Ankara. DITIB serves to promote the Turkish ruling party AKP in Europe and to push Turk-Europeans to toe the line dictated by Erdogan.

These are the primary findings of the investigation:

  • The annual budget of Diyanet in Turkey has increased 11 times since AKP came to power (2016 : 6482 billion TL). The Diyanet, which responds directly to the Turkish Prime Minister’s office, now  employs 150,000 people.
  • Diyanet accounts are not transparent (the FOI requests we made in Turkey brought no credible results). The accounts of 2015 have shown that 7 million EUR have been spent without any clear explanation. When the Turkish Court of Accounts started the enquiry, Diyanet has claimed it was a simple “mistake”. In Turkey, Diyanet’s president was forced to return his 350,000 EUR Mercedes car he bought with Diyanet funds. (President Erdogan thereafter gave him the same luxury car as a present.) In France, DITIB, the French equivalent of Diyanet, has bought a 246,000 EUR apartment for its president.
  • The Turkish Diyanet has denied any official connections with Diyanet mosques in Europe, who are defined as “independent associations created in accord with the laws of each country”. Still, the imams are assigned by Diyanet, and the head of each association is either officially employed, or affiliated with the Turkish consulate. The accounts from France reveal that the Turkish consulate has donated more than 3 million EUR to the French Diyanet.
  • In 2012, there was a significant change in Germany: DITIB mosques have been forced to organise political lectures for its members. Their official aim is to “help the community to better understand the German democracy”, but only the AKP speakers have ever been invited to give lectures.

More on the project website

Nicolas Kayser-Bril

Nicolas Kayser-Bril is a French data journalist based in Berlin.

Mehmet Koksal

Mehmet Koksal is a Belgian-Turkish freelance journalist based in Brussels. 

Supported
Grant of €5.860 allocated on 04/08/2015
ID
2015/280

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