Africa's first Turkish mosque opens in SA
5 October 2012
South Africa's tourism industry is set to benefit from the first mosque built in South
Africa to cater for the Turkish Islamic community, President Jacob Zuma said on
Speaking at the official opening of the mosque in Midrand, Johannesburg - a first on
the African continent, and the largest religious complex in the southern hemisphere -
Zuma said the facility would also help foster understanding and tolerance among
In Istanbul, Turkey's largest city, the Blue Mosque (Sultanahmet Camii
an historical mosque that has over the years become a popular tourist attraction in
The mosque is known as the Blue Mosque because of the blue tiles surrounding the
In South Africa, the Nizamiye Complex is the brainchild of 74-year-old Ali Katircioglu,
a prominent Turkish businessman who came to South Africa four years ago.
Before the start of
the project, Katircioglu met with former president
Nelson Mandela, who recommended that a clinic be built near the mosque. A school
has also been added to cater for about 800 learners.
Both the clinic and school will be open to the public.
"We are truly honoured that members of the Turkish business community have
chosen South Africa for this historic Nizamiye Complex," Zuma said. "It will further
enhance economic and tourism development between our two
Strengthening SA-Turkey ties
The mosque will also build on the productive diplomatic relations between South
Africa and Turkey that have existed since 1991.
Beyond the economy, Turkey and South Africa share many views on global platforms.
The two countries are both members of the G20 and, as a non-permanent member of
the UN Security Council, Turkey has been a prominent voice supporting Africa inside
"Like South Africa, Turkey supports the
restructuring of the United Nations Security
Council. We also welcome and appreciate the role Turkey continues to play in the
advancement of the African agenda," Zuma said.
Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane said the facility would not only boost tourism
for South Africa but would also contribute to the growing economy of Gauteng
"This facility that we are opening today is a boost for our country and a confirmation
of our strong partnership with the Turkish community," she said.
Economic Development Minister Ibrahim Patel said the opening "celebrates the
growing economic relations between these two great nations. This is Africa's largest
economy, blessed with enormous opportunities for investments, and already we have
seen Turkish businessmen pouring into South Africa."
He said Turkish companies continued to create jobs for locals, citing Turkish factories
in East London.