The Presidency of Religious Affairs (DİB) has been one of the most crucial institutions in the Republic's history, regulating and supervising Muslim religious services and education in Turkey. It is unique, as it is a public institution that it is also an establishment that acts like a nongovernmental organization with its charity work, as well as its efforts to promote and enhance Islam. The powerful Foundation of Religious Affairs of Turkey (TDV), which is an affiliate of the DİB, is a major charity organization that has become an international establishment active on all seven continents.
The president of DİB is a high state official with a prominent place in Turkish protocol. In recent years this position has become even more important in the Turkish state apparatus thanks to the head of DİB, Professor Mehmet Görmez.
The DİB has been the subject of controversy for the past 40 years with its adversaries saying that such an institution has no place in a secular republic. Despite this, the prominence of the DİB has grown in Turkey and both friends and foes have agreed that in a world where Islam is exploited by people with ulterior motives, the DİB has managed to preserve Islam's identity as a religion of peace and security and has shown the people of Turkey, as well as the world, that Islam has the key to carry the world into a peaceful future where people of different religions, languages and races can coexist in the same community.
All this has happened thanks to Görmez, who came into office on Nov. 11, 2010, and with the efforts of his colleagues, has carried the institution into the 21st century.
Under Görmez, the DİB has become an institution that fights religious extremism and the exploitation of Islam. At times even at the cost of falling at odds with the administration, Görmez has spoken up on vital issues and has made a positive impact.
Görmez has worked to enhance women's role in society and promotes female participation at mosques, as well as speaking up for the disabled and has encouraged people to bring children to mosques.
He carried the banner of Turkey and the DİB all over the world and promoted peace, understanding and goodwill in the name of Islam. Thanks to his efforts, the DİB and its foundations have spread to more than 100 counties with offices and representatives. It has carried out charity work all over the world with a special emphasis on Africa and places where Muslims are a minority. The DİB has built mosques, religious schools and helped other Muslim countries establish their religious services structure. All this happened under Görmez.
He brought together Muslim leaders from all over the world in a series of summits and institutionalized these gatherings, which rightfully earned him the title of the emerging leader of the world's Muslims. Today, if Muslims around the world look up at Turkey as a source of great hope, we owe a lot to the efforts of Görmez, as well as President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu and their colleagues.
So the reward that Görmez received for this brilliant work was attracting the wrath of the adversaries of Islam and Turkey, as they tried to pull him into debates and controversies, accused him of irregularities over simple issues and tried to tarnish his image as well as hurt the DİB. But, they failed.
…And now for the good news for friends of Turkey and Islam: The man who has served with distinction over the past five years will be with us for another five years, as he was once again appointed as head of the DİB for another final five-year term.