But the "interpretive contract" between Yaşar Nuri Öztürk and his wider,more heterogeneous audiences is based, I would suggest, on the anticipation thatthere will come a crucial moment in his performance when he will adopt a"combative" or "fighter frame." Nearly every Friday morning there comes a dra-matic moment when he loses patience and bares his knuckles—boldly standingup (metaphorically) to state the truths that audiences know from elsewhere.This is when Yaşar Nuri Öztürk lapses into "I" (or when "we" becomes an all-inclusive term rather than self-referential) and he is transformed into a passion-ate fighter in a battleground of political adversaries, fighting on "our" behalf—not only those in the studio or at home but seemingly for the whole nation.During such "exceptional" moments the hiatus between Yaşar Nuri Öztürk's240 Ayşe Öncü
"expert" knowledge and the "lay" epistemology of audiences seems to disap-pear, and the studio participants burst into spontaneous applause (rather thanrespectful clapping). But, of course, it is precisely the anticipation of such "ex-ceptional" moments that lends interest to his television performance and con-stitutes the highpoint (for lack of a better term) of the Ayşe Özgün Show formost viewers.Yaşar Nuri Öztürk's statements during such moments of high drama areframed within a master binary opposition, which he repeats almost every week,as in the quotation above: "There are two kinds of Islam, one which has beensent by Allah and the other invented." And the only way of learning the Islamsent by Allah is for everyone to read the Quran.Thus, for instance:YNÖ: I have been telling this millet to examine the Quran's original for the past twenty years. I tell them to take it out of the chests, to bring it down from the attics, and to read it. But the man who is supposed to read it does not know Arabic. They have told him, the perpetrators of this racket, don't touch it if you do not know Arabic. This racket, to protect itself, has sanctified Arabic. Now, according to these people, what is holy is not Allah's word. It is Arabic letters that are holy. We are saying that what is sacred is the message Cenab-i Hak has sent us. And we can learn this message when we read the Quran in the language we understand. The citi-zen listens to me and telephones the muftii offices. Can I read the Quran in Turkish? No permission, no such possibility.Yaşar Nuri Öztürk's emphasis on reading the Quran rather than memorizingand reciting it in Arabic is obviously a very modernist stance. Ayşe Özgün in-terprets this as follows: "Hocam, you want everyone to acquire a Kuran'i Kerimand read it from beginning to end." But as the paragraph above reveals, YaşarNuri Oztiirk continues to say much more than this. Not only does he bring upthe politically charged issue of "vernacularization" and attack its opponents—as'perpetrators of a racket"—but refers directly to the office of the muftii (whichis part of the centralized Directorate of Religious Affairs in Turkey).
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