A SENIOR LEADER of the governing Justice and Development Party (AKP) made a shocking statement during an election rally on Sunday in the eastern province of Sanliurfa, Turkey.
Kasim Gulpinar, AKP’s deputy, shockingly said: “If you vote for us (AKP), God will not call you to account on the day of judgment.”
Gulpinar went further by saying the Islamic faith undoubtedly requires Muslims to vote for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Gulpinar is also the Head of the Committee on European Union Harmonization in the Turkish Grand National Assembly.
By quoting a Quranic verse from Surah en-Nisa [Indeed, Allah commands you to render trusts to whom they are due], he first asked “how people deliver trusts to those worthy of them?”, and then answered “by voting” for Erdogan’s government.
Having Islamist roots, AKP politicians are notoriously known for exploiting Islamic symbols for political gains, despite public criticism.
Erdogan was harshly criticized when he lifted up the Quran, the holy book of Muslims, shaking it as a parade to show the crowds during an election rally in 2015.
Ahmet Davutoglu, a former Prime Minister, was blamed for transforming his visit to the Kaaba, the most sacred site for Muslims, into a political meeting back in 2016.
Similarly, Binali Yildirim, Davutoglu’s successor and now AKP mayoral candidate in Istanbul, initiated his election campaign ahead of March 31 elections at Eyup Sultan Mosque, an Islamic symbol site in Istanbul.
During his visit, the imam of the historical mosque led a vocal prayer wishing for his success in the election to come, despite the fact that religious officials are forbidden from explicit political statements, as a sign of support or criticism.
Erdogan and his friends’ rhetoric are known for describing their side as pro-Islamic, while they blame their opponents as anti-Islamic or hostile to Islam.
Concordantly, many supporters and members of AKP also have shown up with extreme blessings embellished by religious motives, calling Erdogan as “being the last prophet”, or “having all features of God,” which drew rebuff by many.
In his latest piece on Gazete Duvar, Umit Kivanc, a prominent dissident columnist, lashed out at Gulpinar, summarizing his statement as “God asks for a vote in favor of AKP and will reward those who do so.”
“This is hitting the wall of a political movement with a religious content, which will lead it uncontrollably destroy itself,” he commented with a claim that AKP also sweeps any potential future Islamist movement in Turkey under a democratic-pluralist ground into a cliff.