Erdinç Çeliktan - Hürriyet / Ankara, June 26 () - A mosque that will be able to host 4,000 worshippers will be opened at the presidential palace in Ankara on July 3 and all citizens will be able to use it, not just staff working on the premises, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said.
“God willing, we will open this mosque with prayers on Friday, July 3,” Erdoğan said late on June 24, hosting a large group of elected village heads (muhtars) at a Ramadan fast-breaking dinner at the controversial palace.
Construction workers are currently putting the finishing touches to the mosque, which is built on a site occupying 1,200 square meters of the controversial presidential premises in Ankara’s Beştepe district.
The mosque with four 40-meter-high minarets will be visible from many parts of the city, becoming one of the largest mosques in Ankara along with the Kocatepe Mosque and the Ahmet Hamdi Akseki Mosque.
Architectural motifs from both the Seljuk and Ottoman eras have been used in the new mosque.
Erdoğan said that in addition to staff working at the presidential palace, the mosque will be available to all citizens, who would enter the mosque from a separate entrance gate.
The president has referred to the huge new 1,150-room palace as the “Presidential Külliye” since it was unveiled in October. “Külliye” refers to an Ottoman architectural concept that designates a complex with a central mosque surrounded by a series of ancillary buildings such as hospitals, libraries and public fountains.
A congress hall and the biggest library in Turkey are also currently under construction inside the premises. The library, which will hold a total of five million books, will be open to students for 24 hours.
Meanwhile, ministries and state institutions that have so far opted to hold larger meetings at the nearby ATO Congress Hall will soon be able to use the hall inside the new palace.