| SOCIAL ISSUES |Özgür Gazete



As Özgür Gazete, we launched a special field of research for the first time at the beginning of 2022, regarding the risk posed by the “religion-based” structures that have been present in the northern part of Cyprus for many years but have gained momentum with the growth of the AKP [Justice and Development Party] regime in Turkey and the constant emergence of new ones; and made it our front-page headline in January 2022.

An organisation called Love and Brotherhood Association (SEVKAD) caught our attention.

They had social media accounts and a website.

It wasn’t clear when they came to the island, but they shared the events they had almost every day via their social media accounts for many years.

It was immediately apparent that Necmettin Erbakan, who was also the teacher of the leader of the AKP regime, Erdoğan, and the first name that comes to mind when talking about religion-centred politics in Turkey, was given a special place.

Quotes from Erbakan, his birthday and anniversary of his death, his policies and his views of life were among the posts shared regularly.

Although it seemed at first like a classic and non-effective religious-centred association, upon closer examination, it was understood that this was not really the case.


The association was able to easily reach children at the Primary, Middle and High School level, under 18, who have not yet developed a perception of religion and have not yet reached the maturity to make their own choices, who are under the responsibility of the state, Social Services Department and the Ministry of Education. They could gather these children in some places, such as flats in apartment buildings as we understand, in mosques, and in places arranged as offices.

Another eye-catching detail in the photographs openly shared on social media was that all the students were boys.

There was never a single mixed boys-girls event; not a single event including girls could be seen.

Young men who appeared to be teachers or supervisors, who we assume are at the age of university students, were in charge of these young boys. Sometimes, elderly men with long beards, robes, and turbans could also be seen.

The children, gathered under Erbakan posters, were eating and drinking at tables set up on the floor, and supposedly receiving religious education from these young men using blackboards in mosques.
Did the families of these children know about this?”
Were they the ones giving permission?

It was not known.

How was SEVKAD, a religious structure, able to reach these children?

Answers to these questions would certainly be given by the authorities.


However, it was evident from what was posted that this organization was operating in all districts of the island, even electing individuals such as “Island President” or “Kyrenia Head”.

They were organizing “morning prayer” events in mosques, handing out brochures, particularly at universities and mosque exits, and forming a community consisting solely of men as mentioned above.

Recently, a sports hall in Morphou was allocated to them by the municipality, where they hosted so-called “religious figures” from Turkey whom we know to be conservative from their statements and media coverage, and they gave seminars.

The organization did not stop there; they were also hanging banners in mosques, which are public buildings when they had their meetings at mosques. They could even write “Jihad” slogans that meant “fighting for Islam” on them.


We had brought all of these to the agenda in March 2022 and urged all authorities, primarily the Ministry of Education and the police, to initiate an investigation.

Not only was there a violation of the Constitution but also a danger to our children, constituting a criminal offence.

However, as expected, the opposition parties forgot about the issue after talking about it for 3-5 days, and the responsible authorities did not take a single step.


At that time, we had submitted petitions to all District Offices based on the “Law on the Right to Obtain Information” and requested information about this association.

When was it established?
Who established it?
What was its purpose and activities?
What were its financial sources?
What was written in its statute?

Responses to our petitions had started to come in, and all had one thing in common;

“There is no such association registered in our district”


We refused to give up on pursuing this issue which the opposition forgot about and the authorities ignored, but we had to take a mandatory break when the earthquake occurred on February 6.

When we received the response, “There is no such association in our records”, from the last district office last month, it emerged that the organisation which we demanded from the beginning to be “investigated and prevented from accessing our children” was not even an association and that this religious structure, organized in all districts, had no legal basis.

So not only what they were doing was illegal, but the organization itself was completely illegal.

Last week, we put the issue back on the headlines with these new information;

Our headline read “Look, this is an illegal organization.”

This time, even the opposition which had previously kept the issue on the agenda for 3-5 days did not say a word, and no one gave any attention to the issue.

The police did not even move a finger, even though we clearly proved that this was an illegal organization.

The Ministry of Education did not even react to the fact that the children under their responsibility were in the hands of people whose identity is unknown.


These children, whose minds have been filled with God knows what kind of beliefs in the form of religion, will become Members of Parliament, Ministers, and even Prime Ministers in this country in the future.

They will be appointed as directors and undersecretaries of critical institutions.

Then, a political party will emerge in the north of the island, not similar to AKP as UBP [National Unity Party] is, but a carbon copy of AKP, and write the book of ultraconservatism with its own voter base, causing irreparable damage for years to come with its policies.

While those who are supposedly in power today will enjoy retirement, the opposition will continue to criticize from their seats.

The PGM [T/C police general directorate] will come out and say, “Trust us, we are ensuring the safety of society.”

The opposition, which is too sorry to say a word or kick up a row for the children, will campaign to win another seat in the parliament in the upcoming by-elections in June, telling us, “We will be your voice”.

The Minister of Education, who has openly handed over the children to the zealots, will make statements like, “We have made great progress in education, children are our future.”

And the society will accept all of this. Is that so?

Absolutely not.
This society sees and hears everything, and takes note of it all.

And our duty is to ask the following questions;

What is the duty of a journalist?
What else should journalists do?

What is the duty of the opposition?
What is the role of the security forces?
What is the duty of the Ministry of Education?
What is the duty of trade unions?

Our related news reports;

[Photo inserts: Front-page headlines of Özgür Gazete on the issue]


As a believer of peace and freedom in Cyprus, I am a person who struggles for this, and practices journalism not only as a profession but also with an ideological consciousness. I am proud to work and generate ideas for our country and communities in particular and for the whole world and its peoples in general. That’s all.

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