ISTANBUL, December 29 – The Turkish Religion Affairs Authority – the official body responsible for religious affairs in the state – has issued a fatwa prohibiting the purchase of lottery papers called “Piango”, which the Turks are greatly fond of.
The fatwa has been issued few days prior to Christmas festivals, as 10 trillion Turkish liras (equivalent to eight million dollars) worth of prizes are bound to be withdrawn December 31, 2003.
The committee has justified its fatwa, published by Millie Gazette daily Sunday December 28, declaring that the amounts of money earned through lottery papers are prohibited, as this is a form of gambling. Financial gains in Islam should be related to work or trade.
The Turkish Lottery Department has recently published and distributed 33 million lottery papers; the value of which amounts to 160 trillion Turkish liras (128 million dollars) to be withdrawn on Christmas Eve.
Streets and squares of Istanbul, Ankara and Azmir are terribly crowded due to the outlets of lottery, as New Year’s Eve approaches.
A group of professors of religious studies in the Turkish universities had previously declared that lottery papers are legitimate, as a large part of such papers goes to social institutions.
Such an attitude has encouraged some Turkish TV channels like “Star TV” and “Show TV” to air the lottery withdrawal event.
The Turkish Lottery Department had sold 23 million lottery papers worth of 70 trillion Turkish liras in 2002, according to the Turkish paper.