The Constitutional Court, the ultimate legal authority in Turkey, dismissed a complaint over the adhan, the Muslim call to prayer, by a plaintiff who claimed the dawn call from the loudspeakers of mosques disturbed his sleep.
In a detailed ruling yesterday, the court said the adhan was a religious ritual accepted by the majority in the overwhelmingly Muslim country.
The unidentified plaintiff from the western city of Izmir took the case to local courts and asked for compensation for the disturbance of his peace and for being forced to comply with the prayer of a religion he/she does not follow. When local courts refused to proceed with the complaint, the case was referred to the Constitutional Court.
The top court said although the plaintiff complained about the loud noise of the adhan, he/she did not provide concrete evidence of its impact. "A balance is required between the protection of an individual's material and spiritual existence and preservation of a requirement for a faith adopted by the majority and this balance should be based on pluralism and tolerance in democratic societies. The adhan is a religious ritual and has cultural value. Democratic tolerance and pluralism necessitates permission for rituals adopted by the majority and requires individuals to tolerate these rituals. There is no concrete conclusion that the authorities did not care about the interests of the individuals and did not protect material and spiritual existence of the plaintiff," the ruling said.
Turkey, a Muslim-majority country, has secular governance, unlike many other Muslim countries in its immediate region.