Turkey: Diyanet chief holds homophobic sermon
The head of the Turkish state-funded religious authority Diyanet, Ali Erbaş, claimed in a sermon that homosexuality was partly responsible for the coronavirus outbreak. LGBTI organisations, bar associations and opposition politicians protested but President Erdoğan and other leading AKP politicians defended Erbaş. The topic has sparked a fierce debate in Turkey.
Erdoğan's Islamic state
The fact that President Erdoğan is defending the head of the religious authority is an attack against the modern constitutional state, Cumhuriyet complains:
“The president is backing the head of the religious authority after he said during the Friday sermon that homosexuals, HIV-positive people, those who have sex before marriage and all those whose lifestyle, sexual orientation and nature do not meet Islamic criteria in terms of sexuality represent a danger to society, and called on the people to fight them. ... This means that the government of this country is rejecting the modern constitutional state and instead working on the assumption that we have an unofficial religious state here.”
Time to set limits for sinners
The pro-government daily Sabah defends the cleric:
“The number of those who call themselves homosexual is growing year after year. This also applies to Turkey. ... Those who initially resisted the violence to which they were subjected and said 'We are here and we are normal' naturally didn't leave it at that. ... It's a disgrace for Turkish Muslims that this limit has been overstepped to such a degree. May God forgive us.”