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Peer-Review Record

Use of Religion in Blame Avoidance in a Competitive Authoritarian Regime: Turkish Directorate of Religious Affairs (Diyanet)

Religions 2022, 13(10), 876;
by Ihsan Yilmaz 1, Ismail Albayrak 2,* and Omer Erturk 3
Religions 2022, 13(10), 876;
Submission received: 22 July 2022 / Revised: 30 August 2022 / Accepted: 13 September 2022 / Published: 20 September 2022

Round 1

Reviewer 1 Report

The paper contributes to a better understading of the present cultural and political reality of Turkey. It also contributes - as a country case study - to a wider understanding of the exploitation of religion by an authoritarian government. In this sense, freedom of religion of the majority is violated. Furthermore, the papet contributes on the practice of identification of the people/nation with one religion.  It would be useful to  expand the information on Diyanet, both historically (when was it initially established?) and legally (is reading of the sermons throughout the country mandatory? are there sanctions when the sermon is not read?) . The selection of sermons is appropriate as a support of the wider topics dealt with.    

Author Response

Our Response: Thank you very much for this very positive review. We have now expanded the information on Diyanet. See page 3, highlighted in yellow.

Author Response File: Author Response.pdf

Reviewer 2 Report

The article is generally well structured and the author is clear with the objectives of his research. He attempts to demonstrate the use of the Diyanet as an instrument of blame avoidance by the current government of Turkey. This research joins that of other authors who have studied the current use of the Diyanet by the AKP party as a populist instrument to reinforce its power in Turkish politics. On this occasion, the author makes a detailed study of all Diyanet sermons in order to identify the elements and discursive forms with which they try to exonerate the current government from blame for any problem facing the country.


As we can see, the author makes a first theoretical approach to the issue of blame avoidance, just like Weaver's work, and also tries to first identify some of the main elements of the discourses for it, such as identifying any external problem they cannot provide a solution to as a "test" or "proof", the use of a polarizing vocabulary such as the "pure people" who must face other external actors, or the use of a religious vocabulary to reinforce the community, in this case a mix of a islamic and nationalist identity. In the second part, the author tries to identify all these elements in the speeches through a thorough analysis of all of them.


The research work is correct and the author manages to identify these elements in many of Diyanet's sermons. What I do not quite see in the article is that the author manages to relate this research work to the primary literature provided. I think it would be necessary to include a small parallel between the strategies provided by Weaver and the particular strategies used in the Diyanet, which could be inserted in point 2.

Author Response

Our response:

Thank you very much for this very positive review. We have now re-written the conclusion where we revisit the blame avoidance theory in the light of our findings.

Author Response File: Author Response.pdf

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