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Erdogan counts on Karaman’s Islamic counsel

Hayrettin Karaman is the ruling AKP’s Islamic jurist of choice.

On the night of Jan. 25, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke at an Istanbul conference organized by Turkey's Directorate of Religious Affairs. In the midst of dozens of Islamic theologians and clerics, he condemned “false prophets” in a thinly veiled reference to Fethullah Gulen, another Islamic scholar who Erdogan in fact used to respect. Meanwhile, he praised the scholars around him and presented them with awards. The most notable among this group was the man who posed for pictures at Erdogan's right: Hayrettin Karaman.

This juxtaposition was no accident, for Karaman’s religious views are an important guide for Erdogan's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). To make an analogy, one can even say that if the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood has the Egyptian Islamic scholar Yusuf al-Qaradawi as its religious touchstone, the relatively more modern and progressive AKP has the relatively more modern and progressive Karaman.

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