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‘Abuse of religion’: Turkey election board bans AK Party campaign song

ANKARA: The Election board in Turkey has banned the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) election campaign song after the complaint claiming the song is abuse of religion.

AK Party’s Deputy Chairman Bekir Bozdağ announced on his Twitter account on Wednesday that the Supreme Election Board (YSK) had imposed a ban on broadcasting the AK Party’s campaign song for the snap election on the grounds of “abusing religious symbols in the name of politics,” after Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy Mahmut Tanal submitted a complaint earlier the same day.

CHP deputy Tanal filed on Wednesday a complaint with the YSK against the AK Party claiming that it was abusing religious symbols in the name of politics with its campaign song for the upcoming Nov. 1 election, demanding that a ban be imposed on broadcasting the song.

Tanal indicated in his complaint petition that according to a number of regulations and the YSK’s 705th decision, adopted on April 19, religious or sacred symbols cannot be used in political advertisements or announcements. Interim Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu introduced the campaign song named “Haydi Bismillah!” (In the name of God, let’s go!) on Sept. 21.

The lyrics of the song are as follows:

“In the name of God

We take the road

We are renewed, refreshed

In the name of God

We will move forward

Let’s move forward together

In the name of God

We left our mark

From one end of Turkey to the other

We have hope

In the name of God”

AK Party officials and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, one of the founders of the party, are no strangers to the use and what many call abuse of religious symbols and sentiments.

Davutoğlu implied on Feb. 3 that it should be seen as a religious duty for all Muslims in Turkey to support the AK Party. Davutoğlu recalled at his party’s parliamentary group meeting that the mufti of Denizli, the head imam of the province, Ahmet Hulusi Efendi, issued a fatwa during the War of Independence saying that it was a religious duty for all Muslims to fight against foreign invasion.

In a similar instance of alleged exploitation of religion, Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci asked the imam of a mosque in Denizli province to bring those who pray in his congregation to Davutoğlu’s public event.