Suat Ünal, a board member of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) Aydın Efeler branch, shared a message on social media on Saturday that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will be caliph by 2023 and that God will complete the divine light.
Referring to a statement by pro-Erdoğan columnist Abdurahman Dilipak that “Erdoğan will be Caliph after he gets his new presidential status. Even the rooms at Aksaray [Presidential Palace] are ready. The Islamic Union will be established,” Ünal posted on his Facebook page: “2023. God will complete the divine light.”
After mounting reactions to the post, including from opposition parties, Ünal resigned on Saturday, the tr724 news website reported on Sunday.
“The caliphate has arrived at the Turkish Parliament. The government has been doing what is needed. If Tayyip Erdoğan switches to a presidential system, he will probably appoint counselors to Muslim territories, to the territories faithful to the caliph. He will also create representative offices of the Islamic Union in Beştepe [the Presidential Palace in Ankara],” said political Islamist Dilipak at a conference in Toronto in 2015.
Fatih Nurullah Efendi, the leader of the Uşşaki sect, said in a speech broadcast by Nurani TV in October 2016 that the Republic of Turkey, which was established in 1920, has ended and that the second Ottoman Empire has become a reality.
“The leader of the second Ottoman Empire is Tayyip Bey [President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan]. He is our first sultan,” said Nurullah Efendi.
He also claimed that the new state that has been rising after a 100-year hiatus (referring to the Republic of Turkey) will be a continuation of the state established in Medina (by the Prophet Muhammad).
AKP government officials have already been under fire for their controversial remarks on religion and their attribution of righteousness to former Prime Minister and current President Erdoğan.
AKP Deputy Chairman Mustafa Ataş said on March 28, 2016 that President Erdoğan is a blessing from God to the ummah, the worldwide community of Muslims.
AKP Aydın provincial chairman İsmail Hakkı Eser was quoted as saying that he and party sympathizers love Erdoğan so much they think of him “like a second prophet.”
In a similar vein, Deputy Health Minister Agah Kafkas once said: “When we lay the foundation of a [facility], we also provide the date of its opening. This is the sunnah — Muslim practices based on the life and teachings of the Prophet Muhammad — of Tayyip Erdoğan.” No government officials or supporters have publicly objected to the statements.
AKP Bursa deputy Hüseyin Şahin is known to have said that touching Erdoğan is a form of prayer, while AKP Düzce deputy Fevai Arslan said Erdoğan has all the attributes of God himself.