Islamist opposition leader says Turkey’s ruling AKP driving wedge between Islam, people

The leader of Turkey's Islamist opposition Felicity Party (Saadet) Temel Karamollaoğlu has said the country’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) is driving people away from Islam and an increasing number of people in the country are embracing Deism.

"This is particularly the case with the children of religious families. The ruling party causes this development. There is an authoritarian regime in Turkey and this is distancing people from religion,’’ left-wing news site Duvar quoted Karamollaoğlu as saying.

A study conducted by leading polling company Konda earlier this year revealed that Turkey’s population appears to be becoming less religious despite the 17-year-rule of the Islamist AKP, which has invested a great deal in raising what it calls a pious generation.

The Felicity party leader said that Deism, belief in the existence of a creator who does not intervene in the universe, a contradiction of Islamic beliefs, is on the rise in Turkey, which is approximately 98 percent Muslim, according to official records. 

"Islam is not just about prayer, fasting and going for pilgrimage. Justice is also very important,’’ he said, in an apparent jab at the ruling AKP.

Karamollaoğlu also blasted Istanbul’s newly-built Çamlıca Mosque. The imposing mosque that sits on top of the megacity’s Çamlıca Hill was ordered to be built by Erdoğan in 2012. It has a 60,000-person capacity and cost an estimated $100 million.

"That structure was placed there for vanity. I would be opposed to anything built at that location, whether a school or residence. It’s difficult to reach. This is extravagance,’’ the Islamist opposition party leader said.