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POLITICS >MHP accuses President Erdoğan of having ‘Salafi tendencies’

Sevil Erkuş - ANKARA

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Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) Deputy Chair Ümit Özdağ has accused Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of conducting “Wahabi-Salafi policies” over recent tension between Saudi Arabia and Iran. 

“He tried to justify the execution of scholar. Whenever a Shiite scholar is executed in the world, it becomes an ‘internal matter’ [to Erdoğan],” Özdağ said, referring to the president’s recent refusal to condemn Saudi Arabia for its execution of 47 convicts, including a prominent Shiite cleric, saying it was an “internal legal matter” of the kingdom.

Citing contrasting statements from the government, the Foreign Ministry and the president regarding the issue, Özdağ said there was a “difference between the government and Erdoğan” about tension between Tehran and Riyadh. 

The MHP deputy head said he endorsed the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) foreign policy conducted until 2011 “in general terms,” but suggested that it had since shifted to a “Salafi tendency.”

He suggested that Turkey’s Middle East policy was grounded in “primary school knowledge” and had gotten Turkey into trouble.

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant’s (ISIL) carrying out of a deadly suicide bomb attack in Ankara on Oct. 10 is “a direct outcome of the AKP’s policies in the Middle East,” Özdağ said.

He also criticized ongoing talks in Cyprus, claiming that the process aimed at abolishing the Turkish Cypriot State by simply continuing the Greek Cypriot State under the title of Cyprus. 

He accused Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akıncı of taking a “factionist approach” in his negotiation team, which he claimed was insufficient in knowledge about European and state law. 

Citing his recent contacts in Turkish Cyprus, Özdağ suggested that Akıncı was not informing the relevant parties about the reunification talks and even not taking appropriate notes of meetings with the Greek Cypriots.

January/07/2016

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