In the year of 1932, doors of persecution parted that will last for 18 years. The Ottoman Empire of Turkey began to read out the adhan in Turkish.

The Ottoman Empire collapsed and the Republic of Turkey was established. The first cadre of Turkey that was formed tried to declare war against Islam and its symbols, which they believed was an obstacle to national identity. Their first target was the adhan rising from the minarets in Turkish.   

The constitution set by the Ottoman Government declared that Islam was the official state religion of Turkey. However, after the abolition of the caliphate this section was replaced by the idea of “Secularism”. The cadre firstly changed the alphabet, closed the madrasahs and attempted to change the language of worship just to distract people from an Islamic living. In this context, adhan started to be read out in Turkish in 1932 and this persecution lasted 18 years until the date of June 16, 1950.

In December 1931, 9 hafizes under the presidency of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk and Prime Minister Ismet Inonu began their works in Dolmabahce Palace to change the adhan and sermon to Turkish.  The first Turkish adhan was read on January 29, 1932 by Hafiz Rifat in Fatih Mosque. on February 3, 1932, on the night of Laylat al-Qadr Quran and takbir was chanted in Turkish in Hagia Sophia Mosque. On July 18, 1932 it was decided by the Ministry of Religious Affairs under the control of Presidency of Kemalist regime that adhan must be recited  in Turkish. Attacks on Islam began with the abolishment of the caliphate and establishment of the Republic. Islamic values were attacked during this period and madrasahs were closed down as the government continued to make worshiping in Turkish. In the following days, the Turkish text for the adhan was sent to Endowment Directorates in all areas of the country. On February 4, 1933 a circular was sent to the mufti which underlined that those who refuse to recite  the adhan in Turkish will be facing violent and terrible punishments.

Ataturk was personally interested in making these changes and began to attack Islamic values by firstly making Turkish adhan compulsory. Ataturk directly intervened and enforced the worship and adhan to be made in Turkish by attending necessary institutions and in 1932 this became officially binding on everybody.

They could not even bear the word “Allah”

The following Turkish adhan text was selected from various translations and sent to the Endowment Directorates:

“God is the greatest.  There is no deity but God. I acknowledge that Muhammad is the messenger of God. Hasten to prayer. Hasten to success. Prayer is better than sleep (Recited only for Fajr prayer’s adhan). God is the greatest. There is no deity but God.

The adopted translation of the adhan stated “God is the greatest” instead of “Allah is the greatest”. This clearly demonstrates the hatred on the name Allah. All the Arabic phrases were modified but the only word that remained the same was “Falah” in the phrase of “Hayya ʿala-falah” because this would have changed the meaning to “hasten to salvation” for prayer. They preferred to keep this word the same due to their hostility to prayer.

First reaction to Turkish Adhan came from Bursa

The first major reaction to Turkish Adhan took place in Bursa on February 1, 1933. The public intervened and reacted against the arrest decision of Topal Halil who recited the adhan in Arabic in Ulu Mosque in Bursa. Ataturk later cancelled his trip to Izmir and departed to Bursa to take care of the situation himself. This once again revealed the importance he placed on the adhan being recited in Turkish.

Those reciting Adhan in Arabic were punished

An Act of Parliament was not passed to make reciting adhan in Arabic illegal but the Ministry of Religious Affairs had issued a circular which made adhan to be read in Turkish compulsory.  At the start, even though there was no law to ban the adhan read out in Arabic, soldiers were on duty outside mosques to put pressure on those who didn’t read the adhan in Turkish and some in some places some were arrested. Despite the pressures, the regime could not get in the way of adhan being read in Arabic. On February 4, 1933 a statement was published that explained the decision taken in direction of those who read the adhan in Arabic to be “punished in a strict and severe manner”.  Yet this was not enough so in 1941 the Turkish Parliament passed a legislation which stated that “Reading the adhan in Arabic could lead to up to three months’ imprisonment or fined from 10 TL up to 200 TL.” Despite the strict monitoring of the government, some scholars continued to read in Arabic if they could find the opportunity to.

Children memorised the Adhan in Arabic

This dark period lasted 18 years and mosques in the central locations were forced to read the adhan in Turkish but scholars continued to read it in Arabic in smaller locations away from the central. People from the public were chosen to read the adhan in Arabic in these locations and children were made to memorise the adhan in Arabic to ensure that it will not be forgotten. Those who read the adhan in Arabic were labelled as “crazy” at the time. These people recited the Arabic adhan collectively in stadiums, theatre halls including Parliament lodges. They used different methods to read the adhan in Arabic and continued to struggle.

18 years later adhan was read out in its original form

As well as the Turkish adhan citizens were forced to read the Quran in Turkish too but people continued to struggle with determination to leave the dark period. After the end of the single-party rule period in the 1950 general elections, the government began to remove these restrictions enforced on the people. Adnan Menderes formed a majority government in the Parliament and he made to remove the previous restrictions. The proposals were accepted and the necessary changes on the law was made. On June 16, 1950 reciting the adhan in Arabic was made legal.

They hated Islam under the mask of ‘worship with the language you understand’

People with this mind-set began with the removal of the Arabic alphabet and in one night they declared the public as ignorant people who couldn’t read or write. The cadre banned the Quran language and forced people to read the adhan in Turkish and worship in Turkish. Their main aim was to eliminate Islamic values and they used the excuse of ‘worship with the language you understand’ slogan for their restrictions and changes. They oppressed the people for 18 years but despite this failed to reach their aims.

The PKK flag took over the hostility to Islam

Time has passed; ethics, people and institutions have changed but the enemies of Islam refuse to give up and try the same methods each term. The PKK started off by claiming that they are fighting for the freedom of Kurds but it is they have also been following the Kemalist ideology step-by-step. They have been expressing their hostility to Islam in every opportunity they have had and remain to claim that Kurds are left behind in Islam. At times, the PKK has attacked Islamic values to demonstrate their hatred.

In every aspect, the PKK have been following the steps of the cadres set in the early years of the Republic and they firstly attacked Islamic values and declared war against the Muslim women’s veil know as their chastity. The destruction pressure for years with the Kemalist regime had failed in Kurdistan but the PKK has corrupted with the concept of honour under freedom rights. 

During the 80s and 90s, the PKK used various manipulations to take Muslim girls to the mountains to fight. Here girls were being forced to stay with men and said “we are not free so you cannot pray under captivity” to those who wished to perform their prayers.

Kurdish Adhan was read

They then formed political parties and seized power in some areas in Kurdistan and thanks to this, the PKK managed to be effective in city centres with the hatred of Islam. They took this a step further and on May 20, 2011 read adhan in Kurdish in Suruc, Sanliurfa in their “Peace and Democratic Solution Tent”. PKK’s attempt had failed as they received strict responses from the public. They denied this act but it was clearly published by the press.

PKK were not satisfied of their Islamophobic acts so they continued to follow the Kemalism ideology step-by-step and began to insult the headscarf. Again, their spokesmen stated that the principle proponents of secularism are the major obstacle of the Islamic movement and called for collaboration with Kemalists.

PKK emerged in Kurdistan 50 years after the Kemalism regime which was in the West of Turkey. PKK had to step back after the strict reaction of the people against the recitation of the Kurdish adhan in 2011 in Suruc, Sanliurfa which they later denied. Although the names have changed, this mentality has coupled with Islamophobia. Though they may seem like they have managed to oppress and violate the public at one term, they could not stand against the Muslims. (ILKHA) 

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