Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan ranked first place in the 2019 edition of the World’s 500 Most Influential Muslims. He previously ranked 8th in 2016 and 2017 and 5th in 2018.
Erdogan became Turkey’s first popularly-elected president in August 2014 and secured a second term in the 2018 election with 52.5 percent of the vote, where electoral turnout was 86 percent.
Under his leadership, Turkey has focused on building stronger relations with all of its seven land-contiguous neighbours, especially Greece, and also all of those countries bordering the Black Sea — an important trading hub and a geopolitically significant area.
In Africa, he not only gave aid but became the first leader outside Africa to visit Somalia in the last two decades. Turkey has opened twenty two new embassies and consulates in Africa.
In the 2019 ranking, King of Saudi Arabia Salman bin Abdul-Aziz Al-Saud was ranked second in being the most influential Muslim, while Jordanian King Abdullah II Ibn Al-Hussein was ranked third.
The book is being prepared by The Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre in Jordan’s capital Amman since 2009, and its 10th edition for the year 2019 was published this month.
It sets out to ascertain the influence, be it cultural, ideological, financial, political or otherwise some Muslims have on the worldwide Muslim community (Ummah), or on behalf of the Ummah to make a change that will have a significant impact on the Muslim world.