A spokesman for Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has said the nation will remain a secular republic after a pro-government magazine issued a call to resurrect the Islamic Caliphate, the 5pillars news website reported.
“The Turkish Republic is a democratic and secular state based on the rule of law,” Ömer Çelik said in a tweet. “Our republic is an umbrella for us all based on these qualities.”
He added: “It is wrong to trigger polarization about Turkey’s political system. … The unhealthy debate and polarization that emerged on social media yesterday about our political system is not on Turkey’s agenda.
“The Turkish Republic will stand forever. With the prayers and support of our nation, and under the leadership of our president, we are walking towards so-called unattainable goals for our country and humanity. Our republic will continue to shine.”
The AKP official’s tweets came after Gerçek Hayat, the weekly magazine of the government-linked Yeni Şafak newspaper, called on Ankara to re-launch the caliphate, which was abolished shortly after the fall of the Ottoman Empire.
“Now the Hagia Sophia and Turkey are free, get ready for the caliphate,” the cover of Gercek Hayat’s July 27 issue reads. “If not now, then when? If not you, then who?” the cover asks, seemingly referring to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
Gerçek Hayat and Yeni Şafak are owned by the Albayrak Media Group, which has close ties to the Turkish government and President Erdogan.
The call for a caliphate came days after Turkey re-opened the Hagia Sophia as a mosque more than 80 years after its conversion into a museum by the Turkish Republic’s founder, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.
Meanwhile, the Ankara bar has filed a criminal complaint against Gerçek Hayat, saying the publication violated the law that bans armed rebellion against the Republic of Turkey and incited the people.
But Kemal Özer, the editor of Gerçek Hayat, said in a series of tweets that the caliphate was the union of Muslims and not an opponent of the Republic of Turkey.
“On the contrary, it would strengthen Turkey,” he said. “Why do those who object to the Union of Islam struggle to make Turkey part of the European Union?”