Call to prayer is a daily reminder of Turkey’s religious and political shift

Source: Los Angeles Times

By Umar Farooq

Five times a day, the loudspeakers affixed to the spires of some 90,000 state-run mosques crackle to life, and the Islamic call to prayer bathes the streets of Istanbul and other Turkish cities.

For the faithful, the undulating Arabic hymn, called the adhan, is a reminder of Turkey’s historic place in the Muslim world. For others, it’s an unavoidable reminder of Turkey’s turn from the secular under its current leadership.


On Tuesday, a lawmaker was expelled from his party for suggesting the adhan be uttered in Turkish again. “Chant the adhan in Turkish. I would understand it,” Ozturk Yilmaz, with the Republican People’s Party, or CHP, said on a talk show earlier in the month. “Read the Koran in Turkish. My language, if you speak it anywhere in the world, I will understand it. Why do we have this, this insult to Turkish?”


His suggestion not only sparked an immediate shouting match with other guests on the show, but also reignited a touchy topic in Turkey: What exactly did Turkey’s founders want the country to look like?

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2 replies

  1. I find the Adhan, call to prayers, absolutely wonderful. When asked by Jordanian TV what was the best thing in Amman, I answered: the call to prayers.

  2. Well in UK there is no language problem since the call is simply a bell , but often their are objections to being woken up at such an hour on the day of rest. Many of us get used to the language used and that is why so many stick with the old King James Bible but ritual can make language more important than meaning. That is why ritualistic prayers are hated and loved.

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