Religious figure calls on Turkish architects to design mosques
YALOVA – Doğan News Agency
DAILY NEWS photoTurkish architects have been “on bad terms” with mosque architecture for the last 80 years, but that trend is starting to wane, according to the head of Turkey’s Religious Directorate.
Turkish architects failed to create a mosque design intrinsic to the republican era, because they were “on bad terms” with the entire matter of designing mosques, Mehmet Görmez said in a speech he gave at the opening ceremony of a mosque in the Marmara province of Yalova Aug. 25.
“We have started to witness discussions on mosque architecture lately. This makes me happy. The thinkers and authors of our nation have started to talk about the spirituality of mosques.” Görmez added that the discussions pleased him because architectural schools and architects themselves had stayed away from designing mosques for the last 80 years.
Görmez said non-Muslims could design mosques as well. “We have had Armenian citizens who came to be mosque architects, especially after the ‘Tanzimat’ [reform period during the Ottoman Empire].”
Non-Muslims can build mosques, but only Muslims can improve the Islamic houses of worship and render them prosperous, Görmez said, adding that the young population in Turkey needed be drawn into mosques in greater numbers. “No offense to white-bearded men, like myself, who are young in spirit, but we need to have more young people at our mosques,“ he said.