Jun 07 2018

Secularist Turkish candidate promises world’s largest Islamic university

Turkish opposition presidential candidate Muharrem İnce promised to build the world’s largest university for the study of Islam in the southeastern city of Şanlıurfa if he is elected in the June 24 election, opposition newspaper Yurt said.

İnce, who represents the traditionally secularist Republican People’s Party, was speaking at a rally in the city on Wednesday when he made the pledge. Presidential and parliamentary polls are to be held the same day.

“I am saying this for the first time in Şanlıurfa, the city of prophets. I will establish the world’s biggest Islamic Studies University in Şanlıurfa,” İnce said.

Islamic traditions say that Şanlıurfa was the city of the prophet Abraham, who they say not only played a major role in the development of the monotheistic tradition, but created the most holy site in Islam, the Kaaba in Mecca.

İnce also promised subsidised petrol for farmers’ tractors and free medication for their animals at the rally, and to repurpose a 300-room summer presidential palace for the use of people with disabilities.

He also promised to sort out the city’s plumbing problems and to increase the proportion of food grown inside the country.

“In our country, the poor are unhappy and the rich are unhappy,” İnce said. “The rich are taking their property out of Turkey. Twelve thousand people who could not see a future in Turkey have smuggled their money overseas,” he said, in reference to a recent report that said Turkey’s millionaires were fleeing the country.