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Turkish President Erdogan passes Controversial Religious-marriage Law; Is Getting Marriages Registered by Muslim Clerics Against Secularism?

Sezgin Tanrikulu, an MP with the opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) hence believes the law was “not an actual need”.

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President of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Wikimedia
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Turkey, November 4, 2017 : President of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan has brought into force a new controversial legislation which will now allow state-approved Muftis to perform and register marriages that will be considered legal. The move is being seen as a blow to Turkey’s secular foundations.

The new law, which was proposed by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government, was passed in the Turkish parliament last month, signed by Erdogan on November 2, and was published in the Official Gazette on November 3, which denotes its official implementation.

Who is a Mufti?

The state religious affairs agency of Turkey is called Diyanet.

Diyanet employs Muftis; clerics who take care of all religious and worship across the nation.

What Is The New Legislation All About?

Turkey has a dominant Muslim population. However, the founder of the Turkish Republic, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, had formally established a secular state under a constitution in 1923.

Religiously observant couples often got married by local clerics. However, as per the previously applicable rule of law, it was mandatory for all couples, including the religiously observant couples, to be married by a state registrar from the local municipality, to legalize the marriage.

Now, the new law has accorded formal recognition to marriages performed by clerics.

Criticisms Of The Move

Erdogan has been repeatedly accused of eroding the secular nature of present-day Turkey.

Critics of the new law now fear the move,

  1. May bear considerable impact on unregistered marriages and child marriages
  2. May divide the society into two groups- Those who have marriages registered by clerics and those who do not.
  3. May motivate members of other religious sect to demand for similar rights that might completely hamper Turkey’s secularism.

Increase In Unregistered Marriages

As per the previously operational trend, couples who got married by a mufti would go on to get their marriages registered by the municipality. However, by formally recognizing marriage-ceremonies conducted by clerics as a civil marriage, couples would now be able to forego with that practice.

Critics fear this new law will pave way for higher unregistered marriages, thereby breaching Turkey’s civil code.

Sezgin Tanrikulu, an MP with the opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) hence believes the Erdogan’s law was “not an actual need”.

According to a report by AFP, Tanrikulu was quoted as saying “The AKP has taken another step that harms the state’s secular pillars and that moves people away from secularism.”

Affect On Child Marriages

According to UNICEF, Turkey tops the list of child marriages almost 15 per cent women married by 18.

Granting authority to religiously motivated clerics, who may have underlying contentious intentions, and who may or may not be knowledgeable or equipped enough to deal with larger issues of growth and population, may support underage or forced marriages that will harm Turkey’s secular stand.

However, the Erdogan government believes the new legislation will provide greater religious freedom to the people of Turkey. However, it will be too soon to say whether the new legislation will be successful or not.

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Thousands of Twitter accounts hacked with Turkish-language tweets with Nazi Swastikas

The same Turkish-language tweets with a Nazi swastika followed by the hashtags #Nazialmanya and #Nazihollanda have been posted by the hijacked accounts

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The Twitter logo appears on a phone post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Oct. 27, 2016. VOA

London, March 15, 2017: Thousands of Twitter accounts, including high-profile ones belonging to Forbes, Amnesty International and the BBCs North American service, were compromised on Wednesday, resulting in them tweeting propaganda related to Turkeys escalating diplomatic conflict with Germany and the Netherlands.

The hijacked accounts have all posted the same Turkish-language tweets with a Nazi swastika followed by the hashtags #Nazialmanya and #Nazihollanda (#NaziGermany and #NaziHolland).
The text after the hashtags reads: “This gives you a little #OttomanSlap,” and makes reference to April 16th — the day Turkey will hold a referendum on constitutional changes that would consolidate President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s power and potentially allow him to remain in office through 2029.

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The tweets also include a link to a pro-Erdogan video on YouTube.

The attackers also changed profile pictures and header images for some targets, changing the main image to a Turkish flag and the profile picture to a Turkish-style coat of arms, reported the Guardian.

Several users noted that all hijacked tweets appear to have been linked to Twitter Counter, a Netherlands-based analytics application.

Twitter Counter was previously targeted in a November 2016 attack that caused some high-profile accounts to spread spam. At the time, the company said it has over 2 million users.

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The attack comes amid heightened tensions between Turkeyand the Netherlands, after the Dutch government barred two Turkish ministers from speaking to expatriates in the Netherlandsahead of the referendum.

In response, Erdogan accused the Dutch government of acting like “Nazi remnants”, and Turkeysuspended high-level diplomatic relations with the Netherlandson Tuesday. Erdogan also accused Germany of behaving “like Nazis” after the government banned Turkish rallies ahead of the referendum.

Forbes, Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure, the UK Department of Health, Reuters Japan, BBC North America, Duke University and Amnesty International were all affected among several other charities and universities.

BBC North America confirmed that it had been caught up on the hack, tweeting: “Hi everyone – we temporarily lost control of this account, but normal service has resumed. Thanks.”

Check out NewsGram for latest international news updates.

In a statement, Twitter said that it was “aware of an issue affecting a number of account holders this morning. Our teams are working at pace and taking direct action on this issue. We quickly located the source which was limited to a third party app. We removed its permissions immediately. No additional accounts are impacted. (IANS)