Politics, Middle East

Iraqi cleric urges support for Turkey amid row with US

Turkey has remained target of international scheming since 2016’s failed coup attempt, scholar says

Ali Murat Alhas   | 16.08.2018
Iraqi cleric urges support for Turkey amid row with US Said Ahmad Penjweny, Iraqi cleric

By Mazin Majeed Asaad Baqal

ERBIL, Iraq

Said Ahmad Penjweny, an Iraqi cleric who represents the International Union of Muslim Scholars in northern Iraq’s Kurdish region, has called on the Muslim world to support Turkey against recent speculative attacks on its economy and currency.

Penjweny told Anadolu Agency on Thursday that Turkey had remained the target of international and regional scheming since the failure of 2016’s coup plot against it.

“This economic war is just another part of the conspiracy against the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party led by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan,” he said.

“The heroism shown by Erdogan -- and the people’s noble support of the government -- will bring shame to the perpetrators, both here and in the hereafter, just like what happened in the failed coup attempt."

According to Penjweny, neither Egypt nor the Arab Gulf States enjoy such a strong bond of love between public and government as is seen in Turkey.

“There is no love lost between public and government in these countries,” he said. “The people of these countries have been angered by the campaigns waged against Turkey and pray that the dark cloud will dissipate soon.”

“If the [2016] coup attempt in Turkey had succeeded,” he added, “the Turkish people would be worse off than their counterparts in Egypt, Palestine and the Gulf.”

Penjweny urged Muslim states to stand by Turkey, noting that countries like the U.S. would continue to “play” in the region unless the Muslim world -- as the defenders of freedom and justice -- closed ranks against foreign interference and hegemony.

“U.S. President Donald Trump is a paper tiger,” he asserted, adding that weak Middle Eastern governments had allowed the U.S. to maintain its hegemonic position unchallenged.

“The U.S. seems invincible to those prepared to surrender, but it is nothing,” he added. “God willing, these incidents [i.e., speculative attacks on Turkey’s economy] will only serve to shorten its lifespan.”

Turkey-U.S. relations took a nosedive on Aug. 1, when Washington imposed sanctions on Turkey’s interior and justice ministers after Ankara refused to release an American pastor who faces terrorism-related charges in Turkey.

Last week, U.S. President Donald Trump upped the ante by doubling U.S. tariffs on Turkish aluminum and steel imports.

In response, Turkey raised tariffs on several U.S.-made goods, including alcohol and tobacco products and vehicles.


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