A sheikh from the Islamist cult Naqshbandi was killed in the southeastern province of Bitlis, prompting government officials to voice their sadness.
Abdülkerim Çevik, a religious leader and a teacher, was gunned down on Jan. 19 while trying to reconcile a financial conflict between two families, said the International Muslim Scholars’ Solidarity Association (UMAD).
Çevik succumbed to his injuries and was buried on the same day with a funeral attended by some 10,000 people.
The assailant Yakup Şeflekçi was arrested Jan. 20 for “premeditated killing with intent.”
One of Şeflekçi’s employees said that he was delusional and used drugs, the former claim being confirmed in Şeflekçi’s confession.
“I looked at his posts online. I thought that the second word in his posts was a code, I started thinking that he was giving a message to certain groups with these codes. I couldn’t shake that thought,” Şeflekçi said.
Turkey’s Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu and Justice Minister Abdülhamit Gül responded to the killing of Çevik.
“I’m so sad… The death of a scholar is the death of a universe,” Soylu said in a tweet on Jan. 19.
Gül also expressed his sadness over Çevik’s passing on social media, echoing Soylu’s words that “the death of a scholar is the death of a universe.”
The only Sufi sect that can trace its origins to the first century of the Islamic Calendar, the Naqshbandi are the oldest tariqa in the faith and have millions of followers around the world.