Attack on worshippers was terrorism, not jihad: Erdoğan
Attacking innocent worshippers is terror and murder, not jihad, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on May 3 at the opening ceremony of Turkey’s largest mosque.
“No one can attack the places of worship on the grounds of jihad. Massacre of innocents is not jihad but terror, brutality and murder,” he said speaking at the opening ceremony for worship at the Great Çamlıca Mosque in Üsküdar district.
“The mosque will add beauty to Istanbul … We are proud of this work,” Erdoğan said addressing attendees at the ceremony. The mosque is one of the best examples produced in the footsteps of Architect Sinan, he noted. Sinan is considered the greatest architect of the Ottoman Empire, which endured from 1299-1920.
The president recalled the recent killings in New Zealand and in Sri Lanka and called for a principled stance on all terrorist attacks.
“The terrorist attacks in Sri Lanka with the massacre in New Zealand once again revealed the size of the threat. No one has the luxury to use ‘but’ words in the face of terror,” the president stated.
“After that, no state can make a good or bad distinction among terrorists. A more principled, consistent, clear attitude towards terrorist organizations is now required,” he said.
“The perpetrators of these attacks on both mosques and churches have the same mindset,” he said. Turkey will continue to fight against neo-Nazi terror, Erdoğan said, suggesting that “even some western countries show a double standard on this issue.”
Mosque has 63,000 capacity
The mosque has the capacity to accommodate 63,000 people at the same time. The mosque on Istanbul’s Çamlıca Hill in the Asian side of the city opened for worship with Fajr (morning) prayers and Adhan, call for prayer. Built in the Ottoman-Seljuk style of architecture, the mosque can be easily viewed from every corner of the city.
It is not only a mosque but also a complex, which includes a museum of Turkish Islamic art, a library, an art gallery, a conference hall, workshops as well as a car park with a 3,500-car capacity.
It has six minarets representing the six beliefs of Islam. Four minarets are 107.1 meters tall, a tribute to the 1071 Manzikert victory of the Seljuk Turks against the Byzantine army that opened up Anatolia for Turkish domination.
Its 72-meter-high main dome represents 72 nations living in the city. The second dome with a diameter of 34 meters represents the car license plate number of Istanbul.
There are 16 names of Allah inscribed inside the dome, symbolizing the number of states founded by Turks.
A three-piece finial on the main dome, weighing 4.5 tons and at a height of 7.77 meters is the largest of its kind.
A 17,000-square-meter carpet rolled out at the mosque is a specially designed hand-knotted carpet. The minbar of the mosque, a pulpit from which sermons of Friday and religious festivals are delivered, is 21 meters high and can be lifted through an elevator.
The mosque can host eight funeral prayers at a time.
The ceremony was attended by Albanian President Ilir Meta, President of Guinea Alpha Conde, President of Senegal Macky Sall, Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Ibrahim Ishtiyya, President of the Executive Committee of Afghanistan Abdullah Abdullah, Azerbaijani Parliament Speaker Oktay Esadov, Bosnia-Herzegovina Presidency Council Member Sefik Jafarovic, Bosnia and Herzegovina Peoples Assembly President Bakir Izetbegovic, Libyan Parliament Speaker Halid Elmeshri and Tunisia Al Nahda Movement Leader Rashid al-Ghannouchi.