The government is “determined to raise generations acquainted with their religion, history and culture,” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
said on Aug. 4 at the opening of Istanbul’s Yıldız Hamidiye Mosque after a four-year restoration period.
“This is not the government’s job on its own. [It should be done] together, with mothers and fathers. We will continue to work hard to raise generations that know who they are, where they come from, where they stand, and where they are going. There may be shortcomings in this regard, but the core of the believer is solid. I believe we’ll overcome our shortcomings in a short period of time,” Erdoğan stated.
“We will start to get results in this matter when we see our mosques full of youths. We’ll work nonstop to improve both our physical and spiritual infrastructure. We are obliged to accomplish this not only for ourselves but also for all our brothers and sisters who are looking to us and who have turned their hearts to us,” he added.
Erdoğan also touched on the July 15, 2016 coup attempt, saying that the coup plotters had deliberately targeted mosques in an attempt to “silence the recitation of the ezan [Muslim call to prayer].”
“Those attacking our country and nation are firstly targeting our sanctuaries. On July 15, , our modest mosque at the Special Operations Command [in Ankara’s Gölbaşı district] and the Millet Mosque at the Presidential Complex in Beştepe were bombed with warplanes. Also in Istanbul, many mosques where ‘sela’ prayers were being recited were shot at by the coup plotters. In [the Aegean province of] İzmir, a mosque where ‘sela’ prayers were being recited was also loutishly attacked. These attacks are not coincidental,” he said.
Erdoğan was speaking after performing Friday prayers at the newly restored Yıldız Hamidiye Mosque, originally commissioned by Ottoman Sultan Abdülhamid II and built between 1884 and 1886.
“Some 132 years have passed since its construction,” he said, referring to the mosque during his speech. “Let the Yıldız Hamidiye Mosque, renovated after a 132-year period and opened once again, be enjoyed by our country and the whole Islamic world. It is a stunning artefact for Istanbul.”
The mosque is situated near the Yıldız Palace in the city’s Beşiktaş