With an ultra-Islamist government in power, Turkish authorities are regularly obstructing and blocking any news related to sexual abuse of students inside religious schools in particular as well as schools loyal to Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP).
When, in 1925, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of modern Turkey, banned all Islamic sects, dervishes, lodges and other religious cults dating from the Ottoman times, he publicly said, “The Turkish Republic cannot be a republic of sheiks, dervishes and their disciples. The only right sect is the sect of civilization.” Almost a century after the birth of a modern nation, nevertheless, the Turkish Republic has indeed become a republic of sheiks, dervishes and their millions of disciples.
But, ever since Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s AKP came to power in 2002, the number of madrassas in Turkey has risen sharply.
The Treasury’s financial support for schools run by Islamic sects has reached approximately $126 million. About one million pupils attend schools run by sects.
A total of 2.6 million Turks have some kind of connection with a religious order. There are primarily 30 sects, their 400 branches and 800 madrassas.
Parents enroll children as young as three years old at religious schools. A third of Turkey’s 10,000 private schools have links with at least one sect. So do 2,800 of the country’s 4,000 private dormitories.
The Turkish school curriculum teaches boy students that the female sex is inferior and second-class, while it teaches girls to be a slave to a man.
Tribe mentality, mixed with conservative Islamist thinking, started to poison the country in the early years of AKP rule. Turkish investigative journalist Ismail Saymaz published a book in 2019, “The Sect of Lust” (“Şehvetiye Tarikatı”), in which he documented judicial reports detailing sexual abuse at several cults. Some of the chapters in the book include: The Cloister of Sex; I’d Be Happy if the Sheik Had Sex With My Wife; Two Sisters, One Husband; A Sheik’s Penis Is Like a Mother’s Nipple; Abuse of Mentally-Handicapped Child.
Sheik Fatih Nurullah [real name is Eyyüp Fatih Şağban], leader of the Uşşaki Islamic cult, was arrested in September 2020 for repeated sexual abuse and deprivation of liberty for sexual purposes. The victim of the sheik was a 12-year-old girl whose mother was a cleaning lady at the cult’s premises.
Some tapped phone conversations revealed an exchange between Sheik Nurullah and the abused child’s father, mentioned by his initials, F.A., in judicial reports. In one conversation Sheik Nurullah admits having kissed the 12-year-old girl on her lips, but said he did that “with the affection of a grandfather”. Sheik Nurullah is also heard trying to persuade F.A. to cover up the incident “in the name of Allah”. In a second voice recording, Sheik Nurullah recommends to F.A. that he kill his daughter and disguise it as suicide.
After the father filed a complaint about the sheik, the father was badly beaten by a disciple of Sheik Nurullah. Other followers later contacted F.A. and offered him approximately $6.3 million if he agreed to withdraw his complaint.