Scimitar-wielding Turkey governor retires

Kırşehir Province’s governor Necati Şentürk called for expansion of Turkish military campaigns. (AFP pic)

KIRŞEHIR: A Turkish governor who declared while wielding a double-bladed scimitar above his head that Turkey’s forces would soon march into Mosul and Jerusalem has gone into retirement, reports said on Thursday.

Necati Şentürk, the government-appointed governor of Kırşehir Province, raised eyebrows with a speech from the balcony of the governor’s office at the weekend as Turkish troops were poised to take the Syrian city of Afrin from Kurdish militia.

“God willing, we will take Afrin. We will take Manbij,” he said in videos posted on Turkish news websites, referring to another Kurdish-held city in Syria.

Waving a scimitar above his head with one hand and holding a megaphone in another, he added: “We will also go to Mosul, and we will go to Jerusalem!… God is greatest!”

Turkish sultans controlled both the Iraqi city of Mosul and the disputed city of Jerusalem for long periods during the Ottoman Empire.

The scimitar held by Şentürk was the same type of weapon as the like used by Islamic warriors over a thousand years ago. Such a sword is said to have been given by the prophet Muhammad to his son-in-law, the prophet Ali.

It was not immediately clear to what extent Şentürk’s retirement on age grounds had been pre-planned or forced by his incendiary speech.

But Şentürk, who has been the governor of Kırşehir for the last three and a half years, said he was unrepentant.

“In terms of fatherland and language, I have no fear,” he was quoted as saying by the Doğan news agency.

“All good things must come to an end. When a person is at the top, they must know how to step down.

“And going out at the peak is most auspicious.”