Opposition candidate makes prayer stop at village mosque
Muharrem İnce, the presidential candidate for the main opposition Republican People’s Party, made a quick stop during his election campaign to say his Friday prayers at a down-to-earth village mosque in the north west Turkish province of Bolu.
The CHP candidate for the Jun. 24 election has run a spirited and unconventional campaign that has seen him emerge as a serious contender to the incumbent, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
While Turkey’s large religious bloc has been the domain of Erdoğan and the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), İnce’s humble upbringing by conservative, religious parents provides what he will hope is a way to gain votes previously out of reach for the secular party.
Cumhuriyet’s photographs show İnce at the Yunuslar Village Mosque praying alongside a handful of other worshippers including the CHP’s deputy for Bolu, Tanju Özcan.
İnce has been making efforts to project an identity as a religious man, a bold move for a candidate of the party routinely associated with atheism by President Erdoğan.
On a recent visit to the famous Eyüp Sultan mosque and tomb in Istanbul, a site frequently visited by Erdoğan, the CHP candidate said that religious institutions and symbols should not be associated with the president, adding that he had visited the mosque for the first time when he was 12 years old.
İnce also promised to establish the world’s largest Islamic university during a rally in Şanlıurfa this week.