Izetbegovic says God sent Erdoğan to Turkey with a special mission

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Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (C), his wife Emine Erdogan and the chairman of the tripartite Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina Bakir Izetbegovic (R) salue people during a pre-election rally in Sarajevo on May 20, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / TURKISH PRESIDENTIAL PRESS SERVICE / Kayhan OZER /

Bakir Izetbegovic, the Bosniak member of the tripartite Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, on Sunday said God sent Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to Turkey with a special mission, calling on the Turkish people to support him, the pro-government Sabah daily reported.

Erdoğan met with Izetbegovic on Sunday in Sarajevo, ahead of their joint appearance at the 6th general assembly of the Union of European Turkish Democrats (UETD), which was attended by thousands Turks from across Europe.

Claiming that “Some tried to separate Turks and Bosniaks from their religion and identity,” Izetbegovic said: “God has sent nations one person to return them to their religion. We had Alija Izetbegovic. We remain standing with God’s help.”

Underlining that Turkey has been battling many internal and external problems, the Bosniak leader said: “Today the Turkish nation has a person sent by God. He is Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Help him, support him. You must be on the right path. You, European Turks, you should support your leader.”

Turkey will hold snap parliamentary and presidential elections on June 24.

After European countries decided not to allow Turkish politicians to campaign in their territories, Erdoğan chose Bosnia and Herzegovina to hold an election rally with the help of the UETD.

Justice and Development Party (AKP) government officials frequently attract criticism for their controversial remarks on religion and their attribution of righteousness to Erdoğan.

AKP Deputy Chairman Mustafa Ataş said on March 28, 2016 that President Erdoğan was 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.

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