Caliphate is Erdoğan's, Islamist columnist says
Turkish Islamist columnist Abdurrahman Dilipak has told viewers that, having been voted in as president in 2015 and brought the country to an executive presidential system last year, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has earned the title of Caliph.
The title was originally bestowed on the successors to the Muslim Prophet Muhammad, and caliphs were considered the rightful leaders of the Muslim people. Over centuries the title has been claimed by political leaders of Muslim territories, sometimes in parallel to one another. The title was claimed Ottoman Sultan Murad I in 1517 and held by his successors until after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire in the early 20th century.
Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of the Turkish Republic, abolished the Ottoman Caliphate in 1924. However, Dilipak argued on fundamentalist Islamist news outlet Yeni Akit’s programme “Deep Truths”, the secular leader’s abolition of the position was not valid.
“With the advent of the presidential system, the Caliphate now rests with President Erdoğan,” Dilipak said.
Dilipak is well-known in Turkey for making provocative statements deemed offensive by Turkish secularists. His declarations about Erdoğan’s potential role as caliph are a long-running favourite: te columnist argued that Erdoğan would ascend to the caliphate if elected before the presidential election in 2015, and argued the same before the constitutional referendum that paved the way for the presidential system in 2017.