President Erdoğan addresses worshippers with speech at Turkey’s biggest mosque

Cumhuriyet reported on Friday that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has again given a political speech at a mosque, saying that “Erdoğan turned the Great Çamlıca Mosque, where he came for Friday prayers, into a meeting area.”

Erdoğan camide konuştu: Ayrılığa düşmeyin, Allah'ın ipine sımsıkı sarılınhttps://t.co/4MDwjurvPJ pic.twitter.com/1W25qxdovE

— Cumhuriyet (@cumhuriyetgzt) September 25, 2020

Çamlıca mosque is the largest mosque in Anatolia, and was completed in 2019 as one of the Turkish government’s signature megaprojects. Speaking following prayers using the mosque loudspeaker, Erdoğan told worshippers "All of you cling to the rope of Allah together. If we hold the rope of Allah tightly together, you know that no human power will set us against each other."

This is not the first time that Erdoğan has used a religious platform to promote himself. Just last month, he also spoke after Friday prayers at another mosque.

Başkan Erdoğan İstanbul'da

Erdoğan, Cuma namazı sonrası cemaate seslendi pic.twitter.com/zMgOxL0XmK

— A Haber (@Ahaber) August 28, 2020

Opponents of the Turkish government have often accused the Justice and Development Party (AKP) of making political use of religion, something which is prohibited by Article 24 of the Turkish constitution, which states that “No one shall be allowed to exploit or abuse religion or religious feelings, or things held sacred by religion, in any manner whatsoever, for the purpose of personal or political interest or influence”.

Erdoğan also attended Friday prayers at Çamlıca mosque in 2019, where he referred to a passage in the Qur’an which had been read by the Imam, and said “We will be merciful among ourselves. We will also be violent towards kuffar (nonbelievers). Like in Syria.”

It seems that Erdoğan is making a habit of addressing worshippers at the Çamlıca mosque in particular. The mosque can accommodate up to 63,000 worshippers, so appearing there is quite an effective way to reach a large audience. He appeared at the mosque in March 2020, where he told the audience about ongoing military operations in Syria and Libya.

"We gave martyrs. Yesterday we finally sat down at the table and we agreed to declare a ceasefire as of midnight last night. Our wish is that this will continue”, Erdoğan said in March.