ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Mimar Sinan Camii, is dedicated to the Ottoman Empire’s legendary architect Sinan, who lived between 1490 and 1588. DAILY NEWS photo, Emrah GÜREL
Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
attended an opening ceremony at a mosque in Istanbul’s Ataşehir district July 20, accompanied by Gabon’s President Ali Ben Bongo Ondimba, Iraqi National Parliament Speaker Osama Nujaifi and top Turkish officials.
The mosque, Mimar Sinan Camii, was dedicated to the Ottoman Empire’s legendary architect Sinan, who lived between 1490 and 1588. Erdoğan said the mosque would be “a modest gift to Sinan’s soul,” adding that Istanbul’s Asian side was in need of a “selatin mosque.”
Selatin mosques are unique mosques which were built at the request of Ottoman Sultans as places for Muslims to gather for Friday prayers, such as the Sultanahmet
and Selimiye mosques in Istanbul.
“We are obliged to be united; we are obliged to be one. We, the grandchildren of Sinan, had to build this mosque. We will be in fraternity and carry Turkey further in every way,” Erdoğan said.
Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdağ, EU Minister Egemen Bağış, Customs and Trade Minister Hayati Yazıcı, Istanbul Governor Hüseyin Avni Mutlu, and the head of the Religious Affairs Directorate, Mehmet Görmez, were among those in attendance at the ceremony.
Thousands of Muslims also performed prayers inside and outside the mosque with officials before the ceremony.
The Housing Development Administration of Turkey (TOKİ) and the Varyap construction firm built the mosque in at a cost of 40 million Turkish liras on an area of 57,000 square meters, Bayraktar said.
“Turkey is building a new civilization,” Nujaifi said, referring the newly built mosque. “We need Turkey’s model in the region at this time,” he said, extending his thanks to Erdoğan for his contributions. “Turkey and Iraq should cooperate to rebuild Islam,” he said.
Ondimba also took the floor, saying “this was the best event” he had attended during his trip to Turkey. After the ceremony Erdoğan, Ondimba, Nujaifi and Cabinet members held a closed meeting in the mosque’s VIP section.