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Cyprus

Call for religious affairs head in north to be removed (updated)

unsal2

Turkish Cypriot politician Dogus Derya on Wednesday called for the ‘head of religious affairs’ in the north Ahmet Unsal to be removed from his office after he delivered a controversial seminar about the role of women in society on Monday.

Unsal reportedly told women in the audience that they should “marry and reproduce” and that the reason to get married “is to procreate and not to have fun.”

The statements were heavily slammed by Derya, who accused Unsal of bigotry, adding that his words were against any basic human right.

“He should be fired. He exceeded his duties and responsibilities,” Dogus said.

“Unsal thinks he can tell women how to live and dress, whether to have children or being allowed to file for divorce. These are all outdated concepts. Women are not reproduction machines, nor they are the property of men.”

Unsal’s controversial statements come on the back of increasing worries of radicalistation in the north. Reports last week said Islamic organisations are attempting to proselytise in north adding that some extremist organisations have been approaching minors with the aim of indoctrinating them.

“Because of radical stances, such as the one adopted by Unsal, Turkey has turned into a country where three women are killed every day on average,” Dogus said.

“We will not allow him to impose such a mentality on us and to humiliate our women.”

Later on Wednesday, the secretary general of the opposition Republican Turkish Party (CTP) Asim Akansoy joined the chorus of disapproval.

“We condemn and reject his outdated views in the strongest terms, they are outrageous,” Akansoy told Turkish Cypriot newspaper Yeniduzen.

“No man has the right to talk about women like he did and pass judgement as to how they should dress, behave or when they should marry.

“We should not wait for Unsal to resign voluntarily, he should be fired without delay!”

Teachers are also worried about the increasing role of religion in schools.

Secretary general of the Turkish Cypriot Teachers’ Union (KTOS) Burak Mavis said the agenda of the ‘government’ is changing and that more pressure is put on families to send their children to religious classes.

“The Turkish Cypriot community is a secular one and our religious leaders need to be Cypriots, not Turkish,” he told Yeniduzen.

Mavis added that the extremist religious organisations that have recently started approaching minors in the north need to be stopped.

“We should not accept that children that have not yet reached their intellectual maturity be directed towards religion in such an aggressive manner,” he said.

 

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