Erdogan ally cleric says Turkey must acquire WMDs to deter West

Hayrettin Karaman, a leading theologian that is known as chief fatwa (religious edict) issuer for Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government, said Turkey should acquire weapons of mass destructions (WMDs) including nuclear ones to stand up against the West.

“We need to consider producing these [WMDs] weapons rather than purchasing without losing any time and with no regard to words [of caution] and hindrance from the West”, Karaman wrote in his published column published in the pro-government Islamist Yeni Şafak daily on March 16, 2017.

The cleric claimed the West interferes into Islamic world in general, and Turkey in particular through its economic and military powers. He added that the west including the US gained wealth by exploiting the East and shed blood and destroyed Eastern values.

Stressing that Turkey must harness more power than the West, the cleric said war horses and arrows were replaced by new weapons including nuclear ones that were developed by modern science and technologies.

“Let’s invent [these WMDs], balance [the West] out, but let’s not use weapons of mass destructions unless it is necessary; the way for not resorting [ to WMDs] is to possess weapons that are equal to or more powerful than the ones enemy has”, he explained.

Acquiring WMDs will put Turkey in violation of major international non-proliferation treaties including Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban

Treaty, Chemical Weapons Convention and Biological Weapons Convention. Turkey has signed these agreements and declared it will not seek WMDs.

Moreover, Turkey, a NATO country that is neighbor to Syria, Iraq and Iran, countries that were subjected to international scrutiny over suspected WMD programs, is also particioant at export control regimes such as Wassenaar Arrangement, Australia Group, Missile Technology Control Regime, Nuclear Suppliers Group, and Zangger Committee.

Karaman is highly respected figure among political Islamist groups in Turkey and regarded in high esteem by Turkish president Erdogan. His suggestions have proved to be transformed into government policy decisions in several occasions.

Karaman has been openly campaigning against interfaith dialogue efforts led by the US-based Muslim scholar Fethullah Gülen who has inspired a worldwide network of volunteers working in promoting dialogue, harmony and peace efforts among various culture and faith groups. The fanatic cleric Karaman claimed interfaith dialogue efforts are not Islamic, prompting Turkish president to publicly state in a speech he delivered to Pakistani lawmakers during a visit on Nov.17, 2016 that interfaith-dialogue between Islam and Christianity is impossible and ruled out dialogue with Vatican.

Karaman endorsed Erdogan’s witch-hunt persecution against members of Gülen movement, asking people to support the government while cleansing those with bad intentions from within the state. He even noted that the mistakes made during government purges must be ignored and suggested torture and ill-treatment allegations must be ignored.

More than 135,000 people have been purged from state bodies, in excess of 89,000 are being held without charge and close to 50,000 have been put in pretrial detention since the  failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016. Arrestees include journalists, judges, prosecutors, police and military officers, academics, governors and even a comedian.

Erdogan accused Gülen of staging the failed coup yet Fethullah Gülen strongly denied allegation and the government failed to present a direct evidence to support the accusations. Many believe Erdogan staged the coup to set up his critics, mainly Gülen movement, for a mass persecution. President Erdoğan called the coup attempt “a gift from God” and launched a widespread purge immediately in the aftermath of the coup bid.

Recently Karaman also claimed that “no” voters in an April 16 referendum that will switch Turkey to an executive presidency are opponents of Islam.

“Most of them are notably from the CHP and HDP, white Turks, Kemalists — opponents of Islam, fans of the West who are estranged from their own values, those who don’t want Turkey to be strong, those who don’t want the Islamic world to be united, those who don’t want Turkey and the East to leave the orbit designed by the West. That is the main reason behind ‘no’,” he wrote.

March 16, 2017

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