New head of Turkey's religious affairs directorate named as Ali Erbaş
Ali Erbaş was appointed as
the new head of the Turkey's Directorate of Religious Affairs (Diyanet) late on
Erbaş has been serving as rector of Yalova University and will replace Mehmet Görmez who retired from the post in July after serving in the office, Turkey's highest religious position, from November 2010.
Ekrem Keleş, who chairs the High Council of Religious Affairs, has been serving as the directorate's interim head since Görmez's resignation.
Erbaş was born in the Black Sea province of Ordu in 1961 and is married with four children. After graduating from Marmara University's Faculty of Theology, he worked in the Diyanet's education services department.
After retiring from his post on July 31, former head Görmez alluded to the Diyanet's role in relation to the network of U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen, widely thought to have orchestrated the July 15, 2016 coup attempt.
“The Diyanet should not live the embarrassment of being 40 years late [in the struggle] against any perverted religious structure once again,” Görmez said on Aug. 1 in his farewell speech.
On Aug. 5, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan criticized the Diyanet for “being late” in the struggle against the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ).
Erdoğan said the Diyanet was notified on the issue “countless times” but “efforts were delayed.”
Görmez is reportedly now set to become the rector of Turkey's new International Islam, Science and Technology University, for which a law was passed on its establishment in parliament in 2015.
He will have the title of founding rector of the university, for which foundation preparations were recently accelerated.