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 Sunday that there will be one state of all Muslims and that non-Muslims will pay additional taxes to live in the same state.
According to Karaman, the single Muslim state will be established when conditions are right. Underlining that more than one Muslim state exists today out of necessity, Karaman said: “I am repeating my thoughts that those who try to divide the ummah [Muslims] by creating independent states by means of gathering religious evidence are on the wrong path.”
Karaman said in a column on Aug. 18 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’.”
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.
Karaman implied in a column on Aug. 3 that headscarved women who smoke are immoral.
On March 5 Karaman said that “no” voters in an April 16 referendum that switched Turkey to an executive presidency were opponents of Islam.
Karaman has been openly campaigning against interfaith dialogue efforts led by US-based Muslim scholar Fethullah Gülen.
In February Karaman said the people must help the government in a purge of the faith-based Gülen movement. He also said the mistakes made during government purges must be ignored.