Analysis, Middle East, Side Feature

The Erdogan phenomenon is a sign of secularism in the minds of some Muslims

US secretary of defense James Mattis said that tension that raised between US and Turkey over situation with arrested American pastor Andrew Bronson and Donald Trump’s threats to apply sanctions against Turkey have absolutely no influence on military cooperation between two countries.   He also added, “We continue our tight cooperation”.

When Mattis was asked about US Congress attempts to forbid delivery of new F-35 destroyers to Ankara he replied: “There is no effect of these attempts. As I said early we have no problems with Turkey in military cooperation, we continue to work beside with our NATO allies”.


On 24th June 2018, Recep Tayyip Erdogan won in presidential elections. Long before polling day, hot discussions that still continue started among Muslims on the issue who is Erdogan in truth: saviour of the Islamic Ummah or betrayer of its interests.

In mind of some Muslims Erdogan established a reputation of being an ardent advocate of Muslim Ummah’s interests due to his harsh rhetoric versus leaders of western countries and particularly the US.

“One Minute” Davos demarche [approach] in 2009, angry rhetoric against the Jewish entity for its attack on Freedom Flotilla in 2010, his words against Russia after incident with shot down Russian Su-24 in 2015, critics of Netherlands government in March 2017, criticism of German Leader A. Merkel in August 2017 and regular critics of the US on a wide spectrum of issues, particularly for denial to extradite Fethullah Gulen, who is accused of organizing the attempt of coup d’etat – all of these are only a short list of incidents when Erdogan succeeded to gain support of some Muslims by a few words or spectacular fine gesture.

But mentioned above are quotes of US Secretary of Defense J. Mattis over permanency of military cooperation between Ankara and Washington, and words of many other leaders of “hostile to Turkey” states including the Jewish entity is definite confirmation that Erdogan’s words frequently contradict his actions.

Indeed in order to put a final decision in this discussion on Erdogan we, as Muslims, should appeal to the ideological basis of the Islamic Ummah – texts of the Holy Quran and Noble Sunnah. As Allah (swt) says in the Quran:

فَإِن تَنَازَعْتُمْ فِي شَيْءٍ فَرُدُّوهُ إِلَى اللّهِ وَالرَّسُولِ إِن كُنتُمْ تُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الآخِرِ

(And) if you differ in anything amongst yourselves, refer it to Allah and His Messenger, if you believe in Allah and in the Last Day.

[An-Nisaa, 4:59]

All situations that arise behind Muslims should be examined through the prism of Quran and Sunnah. But, unfortunately, due to the predominance over Muslims for nearly one century ideas of secularism, some Muslims appeal to Quran and Sunnah only if concerned issue is related with ibadah (worship) rites and morals. But if the issue is related with economics, politics, situation of the Islamic Ummah or ways of how to get rid of its plighted situation, we appeal to everything except the Shariah texts of Quran and Sunnah.

Exactly because, if someone will offer to pray 2 or 3 times instead of 5 times in a day, he will be immediately accused of being a heretic and there will be no discussion over this issue among Muslims.

But if the concerned issue is related with political or international issues, for instance if it is related with cooperation with Muslim enemies in such organizations like NATO, or if it is related with friendly bilateral relations with Russian and personally Putin, who is involved in crimes against the Muslims of North Caucasus, Volga region and Crimea, and who also participates in the persecution of Muslims of Central Asia, then Muslims fall into severe disagreement and discussions over permissibility or prohibition of such actions.

Because of the predominance of secularism in the minds of some Muslims, notably because of inability or elementary unwillingness to appeal to Islam in such issues as politics, economics and state system, Muslims appeal to logic, unlawful use of “lesser of two evils” rule and other inappropriate arguments, that aim to justify their position and action of so called Muslim rulers.

Allah (swt) warned Muslims about fatal consequences of such actions in the following verses of the Holy Quran:

أَفَتُؤْمِنُونَ بِبَعْضِ الْكِتَابِ وَتَكْفُرُونَ بِبَعْضٍ فَمَا جَزَاء مَن يَفْعَلُ ذَلِكَ مِنكُمْ إِلاَّ خِزْيٌ فِي الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا وَيَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ يُرَدُّونَ إِلَى أَشَدِّ الْعَذَابِ

Then do you believe in a part of the Scripture and reject the rest? Then what is the recompense of those who do so among you, except disgrace in the life of this world, and on the Day of Resurrection they shall be consigned to the most grievous torment.

[Al-Baqara, 2:85]

Complete acceptance of all laws of Shariah, not only the laws that are related with ibadah and morals, will urge those Muslims that are charmed by Erdogan’s showy actions to pay attention not only to how he elegantly recites Quran or how he visited parent meetings in a school, when he responded to an appeal of an orphan boy who wrote him a letter with appeal to be his father on that meeting, but also to evaluate Erdogan and his government through an Islamic prism in inner and outer politics, economy and applied system of governance.

Erdogan’s action towards this orphan recall to some Muslims the action of second righteous Khaleef Umar (r.a.), who delivered food to an indigent woman on his own back so that the woman could feed her children.

But contamination with secularism do not allow people that are charmed with Erdogan to pay attention on the fact that Umar (r.a.) in contrast to Erdogan at the same time was a ruler who carried Islam via a state to whole world, who solely implemented Islam, did not join any alliance with the enemies of Muslims like NATO. He had no friends among non-Muslims, like Putin, and he was not admired with Abu Jahl of XX century who is Mustafa Kamal.

Discussion about “Who is Erdogan?” will continue until our minds will not be completely cleared from western world-view, namely from secularism, and then this discussion will end with complete separation between Iman and Kufr, truth and delusion, devotion to interests of the Ummah and treachery against these interests, which undoubtedly will be a forerunner for a real Muslim ruler that will become a leader of Second Righteous Khilafah on the method of Prophethood.


Fazil Amzaev

Head of the Media Office of Hizb ut Tahrir in Ukraine