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Turkey’s President Erdoğan named ‘world’s most influential Muslim’

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has been ranked first in the 2019 edition of “The World’s 500 Most Influential Muslims.”

Prepared annually by the Jordanian-based Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre, the publication notes that Erdoğan became Turkey’s first popularly elected president in August 2014 and then secured a second term in the 2018 election with 52.5 percent of the vote, where electoral turnout was 86 percent, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported on Monday.

“During his terms, Turkey has seen unprecedented economic growth, constitutional reform, and a re-emergence as a major global power,” the publication said.

Under Erdoğan’s leadership, it said, Turkey has focused on building stronger relations with all of its seven land-contiguous neighbors, especially Greece, and also all of those countries bordering the Black Sea — an important trading hub and a geopolitically significant area.

“In Africa, it has opened up over twenty new embassies and consulates, and when Somalia suffered from a crippling famine and drought in 2011, Erdoğan not only gave aid, but also became the first leader from outside Africa to visit Somalia in nearly two decades,” it stressed.

Erdoğan was ranked eighth in 2016 and 2017, and fifth in 2018 in previous editions.

In the 2019 ranking, King of Saudi Arabia Salman bin Abdul-Aziz Al-Saud was ranked as the second most influential Muslim, while Jordanian King Abdullah II Ibn Al-Hussein came in third.

The publication has been prepared by The Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre in Jordan’s capital of Amman since 2009, and its 10th edition for the year 2019 was published this month.

It sets out to ascertain the influence some Muslims have on the Ummah (worldwide Muslim community), or on behalf of the Ummah, according to the book.

“Influence is: any person who has the power [be it cultural, ideological, financial, political or otherwise] to make a change that will have a significant impact on the Muslim world,” it explains.

In this year’s edition Pakistan’s newly elected Prime Minister Imran Khan was ranked 29th, Liverpool’s Egyptian star Mohamed Salah was ranked 46th and Palestinian activist Ahed Tamimi, who was incarcerated for a while by Israeli officials, was ranked 49th.

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