- A legal arrangement allowing for public servants to attend Friday prayers without interrupting their office hours has gone into force, as a related circular by the Turkish Prime Ministry was published in the Official Gazette on Jan. 8.
“As a requirement of freedom of worship, which is secured by the constitution and related regulations, in the case of the Friday prayer hour coinciding with working hours, permission is given to servants at public institutions and organizations who demand it,” said the circular signed by Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu.
“We are working on a regulation that will allow Friday lunch breaks to be used in a way that will not hinder the freedom of worship,” Davutoğlu had told lawmakers of his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) on Jan. 5.
“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. “On Fridays, an environment like a holiday celebration, which will further contribute to our fraternity across Turkey, will occur,” he added.
Friday mosque prayers are obligatory for devout Muslim males. Unlike several other mainly Muslim countries in the Middle East, officially Turkey uses the standard Monday-Friday working week employed in the West.