THE ABORTION DEBATE
“Fatwa Is A Feature Of Countries Governed By Islamic Law”
The recent comments delivered by the head of Turkey’s Religious Affairs Directorate against abortion are not binding for anyone and carry no relevance in a secular country, according to political scientist and legal expert Prof. Levent Köker.
İstanbul - BIA News Center
06 June 2012, Wednesday 15:44
Religious Affairs Director Mehmet Görmez's recent denunciation of abortion does not bear any value and cannot be regarded as a "fatwa" (religious decree) Prof. Köker told bianet.
"[This is] because we are not governed by Islamic Law. The Religious Affairs' remarks should not be taken as a legal statement. This is not a matter that concerns Islamic Law. It is the judiciary that settles legal matters," Prof. Köker said.
Religious Affairs Director Görmez had claimed on Monday that abortion is religiously impermissable and amounts to murder. Görmez had gone even further to say that pregnant women had no right to claim they could avoid giving birth to a baby on the grounds it was their bodies in question.
"All sciences, and not just Islam, will continue saying that abortion is equal to ending a life. A baby in a mother's womb has the right to life. It is unfair to see the problem of abortion as merely a women's issue," Görmez had said.
"His personal opinions are not binding on anyone"
"It is not binding on anyone when the head of the Religious Affairs Directorate expounds his personal views. Such a statement as the one he delivered as the head of Religious Affairs carries no value either. If there is anyone who takes heed of the Religious Affairs' exposition, they are free to listen to their opinions on abortion, but these remarks cannot be regarded as the expression of a norm that is binding on the citizens of the Turkish Republic," Prof. Köker said.
"Religious Affairs has no place in a secular state"
Prof. Köker also denied the Religious Affairs Directorate had any such function in the first place and questioned the role of the directorate in a secular state.
"There is a law in Turkey on abortion. If this law fails to satisfy some, then it is self-evident how it would be amended," he said, adding that the office of Religious Affairs should not have a place in the country's central administration in the first place.
"Such an organization should not exist in a secular state. It is not prudent for Religious Affairs to get involved in the abortion debate. It constitutes an individual decision whether to see abortion as murder or not. The attempt to intervene in people's choices through the agency of the Religious Affairs Directorate is a situation I find extremely odd," said Prof. Köker. (AS)