Turkey: After returning from EU conference on human rights, member of Erdogan’s party suggests gay imams – reaction predictable

A ruling AKP deputy’s remarks suggesting that gay people should be able to serve as imams has stirred a fresh cultural debate on Turkey’s heated political stage.

In response to this suggestion, main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy İhsan Özkes focused on alleged double standards applied by the government on such issues.

“What would happen if a CHP [deputy] had delivered these remarks?” asked Özkes, a retired mufti.

“Doesn’t Görmez hear these remarks? I wonder what he thinks in the face of this fatwa [religious ruling] by AKP deputy Nursuna Memecan,” Özkes added, referring to Directorate General for Religious Affairs (Diyanet) President Mehmet Görmez.

Memecan delivered her remarks after attending a seminary on fundamental rights and protecting LGBTI people from discrimination, organized by the European Parliament in the Albanian capital Tirana on Nov. 20-21. She attended the session with CHP deputy Binnaz Toprak.

However, her words drew a harsh reaction from many conservative media outlets. Following a report in daily Milli Gazete headlined “Parliament gives pass for immorality,” Mehmet Metiner and Ziver Ozdemir from the AKP and Ruhsar Demirel from the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) withdrew their participation in the seminary.