Thursday, June 15, 2017

Reading President Erdogan’s ambitions in Turkey’s new mosques

By Suzy Hansen
Cigdem Mosque, Kecioren, Ankara, photographed in 2017. Credit Norman Behrendt
TURKEY---In Turkey, mosques have a dual spiritual and economic purpose. This surprised me when I first moved to the country more than a decade ago. But much of typical Turkish life has been transformed by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, especially when it comes to Islam and profit. Many of Turkey’s 75,000 mosques were historically built and maintained by the Ministry of Religious Affairs, or Diyanet, according to a community’s needs for prayer space. Between 2006 and 2009 — Erdogan became prime minister in 2002 — 9,000 additional mosques went up throughout Turkey. Like his bridges, airports, pastel-pastiche apartment towers and luxury shopping malls, Erdogan’s mosques have themselves become engines of national economic growth, as well as symbols of his New Turkey. [More]
A mosque under construction in Yenimahalle, Ankara, in 2016.