Hürriyet Daily News
The construction of a mosque next to a brothel in the southern city of Antalya has raised concerns among some residents about provocative actions being taken against the brothel, especially during the holy month of Ramadan.
The brothel was built almost 40 years ago in the Kepez district, which was on the outskirts of Antalya at that time. The growth of the city has brought the district, and the brothel, into its center.
Neighborhood residents disturbed by the situation have raised objections, none of which have had any impact thus far. Yaşar Karahan, the owner of an adjacent plot of land, donated the property on the condition that a mosque would be built there, stirring up ongoing debate.
District headman Binali Güney expressed his concerns about a brothel being located in the middle of a busy part of the city that is home to 130,000 people, including many families with children. He has requested that the brothel be moved outside the city.
Güney also noted that the brothel is located in the direction of Mecca, so that people have to face that way while praying. “What a shame!” he said.
The headman added that since the mosque opened, tension in the area has been escalating. He has asked for extra police forces to protect the neighborhood.
The brothel management has taken some precautions of its own by covering the building’s exterior with two-meter-high iron folding screens.
A mufti, or Islamic official, has recently been appointed to the newly built three-story mosque.
‘Any provocation may lead to serious events’
Hasan Hüseyin Tanrıöver, the chairman of the Mosque Construction and Support Foundation, said in a written statement that the organization has serious concerns about a potential attack directed at the brothel, particularly during Ramadan.
“The problem is not between our foundation and the brothel, but between the residents and the neighborhood unit,” Tanrıöver said. “However, the headman of the district does not have the authority to move the brothel away from here, so we expect the authorities to take the necessary precautions before any negative behavior occurs in the district.”
Noting that social pressure is growing rapidly in the area, Tanrıöver said there had been some cases in which people threw stones at the brothel.
“These were simple events, but no one can guarantee that more serious ones will not occur in the near future in the case of any provocation,” he added, noting that the foundation had applied to the Antalya Governorship and the police forces for help in preventing more such events and saying that the organization cannot be held responsible if any do occur.
Neighborhood residents also have strong opinions about having a brothel in close proximity to their homes.
Ali Beyhan, a 42-year-old craftsman, said he was uncomfortable with it because he has children who have to walk near the brothel to go to school.
“Can you imagine the effect of anything they may see there on the psychological state of my children?” he asked.
A shop owner who did not want to reveal his name had a different view. “The brothel has been standing in this district for almost 40 years. It is not so easy to move it to some other part of the city,” he said. “The authorities should also consider the rights of people who want to visit the brothel.”
The women who work in the brothel also spend money at the nearby shops, he added.