Minister halts military band to allow Islamic chant
DHA photoTurkish Culture and Tourism Minister Ertuğrul Günay stopped a military band at a soldier's funeral from playing the funeral march in Antalya today on the grounds that people at the funeral wanted to perform the tekbir – the phrase "Allahu ekber" (God is great).
The minister and military officers were attending the funeral of Sgt. Osman Çelik, who was killed in a traffic accident on Aug. 21, along with nine other security personnel in the southeastern province of Şırnak.
Çelik's body was taken to his home village of Yazır in the southern province of Antalya for the funeral, where around 2,000 people attended the ceremony, broadcaster NTV reported on its website.
A military band was also present at the scene and was playing the funeral march when Günay interrupted the officer in charge of the ceremony and said, "Stop the band, the people want to call the tekbir."
The minister later explained his behavior by saying that a band playing the funeral march in cities where there is a large protocol presence was natural. "But this is a small village and people want experience their pain and send their son off with prayers."
Günay said he wanted to meet the expectations of the people and asked the band not to play the funeral march.