Turkey's top religious body acquires 2 million liras in 'unlawful' interest revenue - report

Turkey’s top religious body, which has ruled that interest is an unlawful form of income according to Islamic teachings, has amassed over 2 million lira in interest-based revenue in 2019, according to a new report by the Turkish Court of Accounts.

Turkey’s Religious Affairs Directorate garnered a total of 2.19 million lira ($257,317) in interest income through floating capital last year, Artı Gerçek news site reported on Sunday, citing the court’s report that has been submitted to Parliament.

The directorate,  also known as Diyanet, in nationwide Friday sermons it regulates across the country, has gone on record to say that interest-based income is “impermissible’’ according to Islamic teachings.

The top religious body had previously come under criticism for its interest-based revenue, prompting the authority to announce it had transferred all such income to the Treasury. 

Diyanet has come under criticism for its ever-expanding budget under Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). The budget of Turkey's top religious body exceeded that of seven of the country’s key ministries in the first four months of this year, registering at spent 3.8 billion liras ($558 million).