Erdoğan cleric: Turkey should have nuclear power, work on Muslim friendship

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President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (R) presented an award to Hayrettin Karaman for his service to Islamic culture in İstanbul on Jan. 25, 2014.

Hayrettin Karaman, a leading theologian and issuer of fatwas, or religious edicts, for ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) circles and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, said in a column on Friday that Turkey needs to have nuclear power and work on achieving Muslim unity and friendship.

Explaining to what extent and under what conditions Muslims should befriend non-Muslims, Karaman said: “Peace should be preferred, but one also has to have a deterrent force for defense and to fight against violence. [I am insisting that this power in our day is nuclear and that we should have it. Having this power is not to use it violently, but to ensure a power balance, for defense and deterrence.] … I am not saying we should be North Korea, I am saying ‘Keeping in mind the divine warnings and being cautious, let’s work on Muslim friendship and unity in the long term, if not now’.”

Referring to a series of disputes between Turkey and the European Union, Germany and the US, Karaman argued that relations with non-Muslims have ended in disappointment just as during and after World War I.

Karaman targeted the EU for not accepting Turkey for EU membership despite years of waiting and German Chancellor Angela Merkel for suggesting to halt a customs union agreement between Turkey and EU and for not deporting Turkish asylum-seekers, who Turkey accuses of having mounted a botched coup attempt on July 15, 2016.

If, Karaman said, the prime coup suspect Adil Öksüz is in Germany, as is claimed by Turkish media, this shows Germany’s stance towards Turkey.

The report referred to by Karaman argued that Öksüz was taken to Germany six days after the coup attempt with the support of the US agents, who took Öksüz to Wunstorf in Germany.

Karaman also accused the US of sending military equipment to the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), which Turkey claims is affiliated with the terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

Despite the fact that the US aid was announced to be for operations against the terrorist Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in Raqqa, the pro-government media claimed that the supplies are for an operation against Syrian areas that were taken under control by the Turkish military and Free Syrian Army (FSA) fighters during Operation Euphrates Shield between August 2016 and March 2017.

Karaman, a well-respected figure among political Islamist groups in Turkey and regarded in high esteem by Erdoğan, frequently makes controversial statements in the name of Islam that favor Erdoğan and the AKP government.

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