“In this period, it is not inconvenient for couples to meet and talk to get to know each other, if their privacy is considered. However, there could be undesired incidents with or without their families' knowledge … such as flirting, cohabitating or being alone [with one another]. This encourages gossip and holding hands, which Islam does not allow” the Diyanet said, responding to a public question.
It urged couples to fulfil their engagement period “in line with Islamic norms” encouraging couples not to have a religious marriage unless a civil marriage had been decided upon.
The Diyanet - which is one of Turkey's best funded state institutions, largely provided for by public taxation - has previously made headlines with controversial rulings on the usage of toilet paper and cleaning products containing alcohol.