Election in Turkey: Erdogan is campaigning by waving a Koran at the crowd

This photo released by the Turkish Presidential Press office shows President Recep Tayyip Erdogan holding a Koran during a political rally in the southeastern city of Batman on May 2, 2015 (AFP Photo/Kayhan Ozer)

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has controversially turned religion into a campaign issue in the officially secular country’s upcoming polls, which promise to be the biggest election challenge yet for the ruling party.

In an unprecedented gesture by a Turkish politician in recent times, Erdogan waved a copy of the Muslim holy book the Koran translated into Kurdish during a rally this week in the Kurdish-majority southeast.

“Turkey has never seen a president who leads an election campaign with a copy of the Koran in his hand,” Professor Ilter Turan of Istanbul’s Bilgi University, told AFP.

The ruling Islamic-rooted Justice and Development Party (AKP) — co-founded by Erdogan and in power since 2002 — is widely expected to win the June 7 legislative polls but faces an uphill struggle to win the two-thirds majority it needs to change the constitution…

…The [opposition] HDP lodged an unsuccessful complaint with the election authority this week, accusing Erdogan of violating the president’s impartiality and using the Koran as a “propoganda tool”.

Erdogan has denied the claims saying: “I am neutral vis-a-vis all parties but naturally one party is closer to my heart”…

Turkey’s current constitution requires that president be non-partisan, which Erdogan is happily ignoring.

Erdogan wants to change the constitution and give the office of the president real power but this requires more than simply winning the largest number of votes.

  • Dana Garcia

    Koran plus plaid?? Isn’t there a fatwa in that?

    • Frau Katze

      It does look a tad bizarre. There was something odd about the pic but I couldn’t quite place it. You’ve nailed it.

      • eMan14

        Maybe he’s hoping to ride the coattails of the Scottish National Party.

        • Frau Katze

          Good point 😉

      • Dana Garcia

        Erdo should be holding a book about how to double your income by flipping houses in your spare time.

  • Xavier

    “Erdogan wants to change the constitution and give the office of the president real power…”

    So he wants to be Obama?

    • Frau Katze

      No, he wants a system where he has more than Obama. Turkey has a parliamentary system. The leader of the party with the most seats becomes the prime minister.

      The president in Turkey is purely ceremonial. That’s what Erdogan wants to change.

      But he’s already said that Obama had too many restrictions on him.

  • Norman_In_New_York

    The Koran translated into Kurdish? I thought that Kurds there were under legal compulsion to speak and publish in Turkish.

    • Frau Katze

      As part of the Kurdish “peace process” the Turks are gradually letting them more access to stuff in Kurdish.

  • If ever Turkey is allowed into the EU, this will be the sign of the demise of Europe. Death and destruction on a massive scale will quickly follow, with tens of millions of Muslims practicing Jihad.

  • WalterBannon

    I look forward to the day that we nuke both Turkey and Pakistan