A Presidency of Religious Affairs (DİB, better known as Diyanet) project, if approved, will bring improved standards at all new mosques in Turkey, with plans to include a sports ground, art gallery or exhibition hall and much more. Aiming to modernize mosque constructions and to keep them in line with building standards, the DİB, which oversees mosques, along with the country's Environment and Urban Planning Ministry is drawing up plans to introduce newer regulations. A draft plan, discussed at a meeting between the DİB and Environment Ministry officials, aims to bring a set of novelties to the mosques, from different energy-saving measures to making these places of worship more accessible to the public.
A state-run board will inspect if the mosques were in line with the "aesthetics" of Turkish mosques as well as building of the mosques, generating its own energy resources, use of water in ablution as well as in irrigation of green spaces around the mosque. If the plan is approved, every new mosque will feature a set of new facilities, including a sports field, exhibition hall, children's playground, family counseling office, classrooms for Quran lessons, a bookstore for religious publications, a library and a coffee house. Mosques will also be made more accessible for female worshipers, with separate entrances and exits to access the female-only prayer sections of a mosque. Workshops to discuss the details of the new set of standards will be held later this month with the participation of the DİB, urban planners, engineers, academics and other experts.
Turkey, a Muslim-majority country, has more than 87,000 mosques in its 81 provinces. Among them, Istanbul has the highest number of mosques, around 3,362. The country strives to make mosques more social rather than just places of worship, mostly, for men. A mosque in capital Ankara broke new ground recently after introducing an indoor playground for children who accompany their parents to the mosque.
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