Turkey is going to fully finance the construction of Crimea's largest mosque, Crimea's grand mufti said.
The Autonomous Republic of Crimea's Grand Mufti Emir Ali Ablayev told Anadolu Agency (AA) that the Russian administration approved the project, which they had been trying to implement for 10 years before Crimea joined the Russian Federation in March 2014.
The mosque will be constructed in Crimea's capital, which Crimean Tatars refer to as Akmescit, while Russians call it Simferopol. "The worship venue will be built over an area of 2,500 square meters and, together with the courtyard and the fountain, it will cover 5,000 square meters," Ablayev said, adding that "about 5,000 Muslims will be able to worship at the same time." He said that the mosque will be named "The Friday Mosque."
Ercan Bekar, the owner of the Istanbul-based construction company Erbek İnşaat who will build the mosque, said within days the cornerstone of the mosque will be laid. He added that the construction company has 36 months to build the mosque, but the aim is to finish the project within 24 months.
Bekar said the mosque complex would include "lodgings for the imam, library, garage and market area." "The project represents Turkish architecture," Bekar added.
The Crimean Grand Mufti said, "Turkey's Presidency for Religious Affairs (DİB) provided every kind of support for the implementation of this project, which will be Crimea's largest Mosque. Turkey will fully finance the construction of the Mosque."
Ablayev said Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, former President Abdullah Gül and the head of the Presidency of Religious Affairs (DİB), Mehmet Görmez, helped the project receive approval first from Ukrainian authorities and then from Russian authorities.
The state-run DİB, which oversees mosques in Turkey, has already constructed more than 100 mosques around the world with construction ongoing in 38 different locations. The religious authority had also contributed to the interior design work of the Moscow Cathedral Mosque, which was opened earlier this month by Erdoğan and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
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