Turkey’s Religious Affairs Directorate, also known as the Diyanet, is looking for 30 media professionals for its Diyanet TV, a move likely to bring criticism on the agency for seeking more political power, the Cumhuriyet daily reported on Tuesday.
The media professionals to be recruited include directors, TV program hosts, producers, camera operators and lighting technicians and will be based on the results of an oral exam.
Diyanet TV, established in 2013, is owned and operated by the Presidency of Religious Affairs. It has a relationship with local television stations and broadcasts local news in addition to programs on religious topics.
Meanwhile, the directorate’s current president, Professor Ali Erbaş, has been attracting criticism for making a series of controversial comments on issues considered by many to be unbefitting a top cleric. Erbaş, who frequently appears at public events along with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, is also accused by many of promoting Erdoğan’s agenda using religion as a pretext.
According to Atila Sertel, a lawmaker from Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), the Religious Affairs Directorate is seeking to be more influential in both social and traditional media by building up its media personnel.
“However, this is not its job. The directorate is trying to gain media power, and it will spread government propaganda there. This move is part of efforts to save Erdoğan, and they will do this by using religion,” said Sertel.
A growing number of public surveys show public support for Erdoğan and his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) is waning.
A recent poll by the Yöneylem Social Research Center found 56.9 percent of Turkish voters are opposed to the reelection of Erdoğan as president.
Erdoğan was first elected president in 2014 and was reelected in 2018 for a five-year term. The next presidential election is slated for 2023.