The pro-Kurdish BDP and the terrorist PKK are reportedly working to distance pious Kurds in eastern and southeastern Turkey from state imams as part of a plan to allure more voters in the June 12 elections. They suspect Kurdish voters may vote for the AK Party if imams manage to strengthen ties of brotherhood between Turkey's Kurds and Turks
The plan is believed to be part of a “civil disobedience” campaign launched by the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) last month. On March 23, BDP officials asked the Kurdish population to join in acts of civil disobedience. They argued that the demands of the Kurdish people would be given a voice to during the campaign. However, some participants in the campaign resorted to violent methods and clashed with security forces.
Earlier this month, BDP leader Selahattin Demirtaş called on Kurds in eastern and southeastern Turkey to refuse to stand to pray behind state-appointed imams, on the grounds that they are spying for the state and working to promote the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government. He also claimed that those imams are imposing Turkishness and statist views on the people.
As a result, many people in some provinces in the Southeast refused last week to perform the Friday prayers behind state imams. Instead, they lined up behind other imams. According to Aksiyon, the PKK wants to distance pious Muslim Kurds from the AK Party, and has put a devious plan in place to achieve this end. The first phase of the plan was civil disobedience, and the second phase was the refusal of praying behind state imams. In the third phase, terrorists killed by Turkish security forces during anti-terror operations will be shown to the public as “sacred figures.” The mastermind behind the plan is reportedly Abdullah Öcalan, the jailed leader of the PKK. The PKK is using the BDP as a political element in the implementation of the plan.
Aksiyon underlined that the PKK and the BDP abuse the religious sentiment of the Kurdish population even though they are basically Marxist-Leninist organizations. A photograph taken during the Friday prayers last week as a group of Kurds prayed behind non-state imams showed many BDP officials and members standing up or sitting down idly and not joining the prayers. According to Aksiyon, the photograph has come to clearly show the abuse of the religious sensitivities of Kurds by the PKK and the BDP.
The Religious Affairs Directorate appoints Kurdish-speaking imams in communities in the eastern and southeastern provinces. The choice is related to a desire to appeal to more people in the two regions, as many people can speak Kurdish but cannot speak Turkish. This way, more people have the chance to benefit from the service provided by imams sent to their provinces. The PKK is believed to have killed over 50 imams to date.
Aksiyon also said the KCK has trained around 1,000 imams and sent them to the East and Southeast to replace the imams appointed by the state. The imams belong to a group that calls itself the Union of Kurdistan Imams. The PKK and the KCK are hoping to break the ties between pious Kurds and state imams before the elections so that they can shape the political opinions of Kurdish voters in these regions more easily. They fear that imams will strengthen ties of brotherhood between Turks and Kurds, which will eventually bring more votes to the AK Party. For them, state imams should be sent out of the East and Southeast so that more votes will flock to the BDP in the June elections.
In an interview with the Fırat news agency, the mouthpiece of the terrorist PKK, on Oct. 25, 2010, KCK official Duran Kalkan accused imams of “organizing people through the money they receive from the state.”
“The [Turkish] state has taken religion from the hands of the people and made it its own religion. It is organizing the people and mosques by giving salaries to imams. The pious Kurdish population should be aware of this fact,” he stated. Kalkan also called on Kurds to practice their religion on their own without the leadership of a state-funded imams. “Kurds should open their own places of worship. They should find and feed their own men of religion. They should not expect the state to give them salaries. I am inviting Kurds to oppose a genocide carried out by the state in the field of religion,” he added.