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[UPDATE] University who rector says obeying Erdoğan is religious obligation resigns

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The rector of a university in the southeastern Turkish province of Şanlıurfa, who has said it is fard, the Islamic term for a religious obligation, to obey President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, resigned on Thursday, according to Turkish media reports.

Harran University Rector Professor Ramazan Taşaltın made the controversial remarks during a program on the pro-government Akit TV.

“From the Islamic point of view, obeying the president is fard, while opposing to him is haram [the Islamic term for something banned by the religion] as it means fleeing from fighting in a war. We are obeying him, he is our president,” said the rector.

In Turkey, it has become common for university rectors who are now appointed by Erdoğan to make statements in favor of the president and his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).

In the meantime, AKP deputy parliamentary group chairman Naci Bostancı was critical of the rector’s statement, tweeting on Tuesday, “The remarks of the Harran University rector about our president have nothing to do with our republic, Islam, our president’s political standing or the academic profile of a rector.”

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