Turkish public officials’ lunchbreaks to be changed for Friday prayers
AA photoThe government is preparing to make a legal arrangement allowing for public servants to attend Friday prayers without interrupting their office hours.
“We have prepared a draft Prime Ministry circular for the use of Friday lunchbreaks in a way that will not restrict freedom of worship,” Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu stated on Jan. 5, addressing a parliamentary group meeting of his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).
Davutoğlu said he has personally faced difficulties performing his Friday prayers at the appropriate time.
“This is a difficulty that we have all faced from time to time throughout our lives,” he added.
“We all remember how we have gone to prayers in a rush, although it should actually be done in serenity, calm and with a heart at ease. We all remember how we have sometimes asked imams, ‘Please keep the sermon short so students and workers can return to work,’” Davutoğlu also said.
According to current regulations, the lunchtime break generally starts at 12.00 p.m. and ends at 13.00 p.m. at public institutions. Some provide a noon break between 12.30 p.m. and 13.30 p.m., the state-run Anadolu Agency reported.
The Directorate of Religious Affairs (Diyanet) sets the call for Friday prayer at 12.00 p.m. Turkish time during winter, while it is recited at 13.00 p.m. during summer, it also stated.
“From now on, everyone will go to Friday prayers in peace. Whoever wants to will be able to go and whoever doesn’t want to go will not be able to go. It will depend only on one’s own faith,” Davutoğlu said on Jan. 5.
“In order to allow those who want to go in peace, flexibility will be displayed. On Fridays, an environment like a holiday celebration, which will further contribute to our fraternity across Turkey, will occur,” he added.